Knowledge of the relationships between cognitive and motivational processes in school group learning contexts, is limited. This study tested a theoretical framework describing relationships argued to be salient to students' motivation to learn in friendship and acquaintance groups in secondary school settings. The sample consisted of 188 students from two independent schools in the Sydney Metropolitan area. Analysis was carried out using exploratory factor analysis and multiple regression analysis to identify key predictors and moderation effects. Results suggested that self-efficacy for group work, self-interdependence and self-independence are important cognitive factors related to students' tendencies to cooperate with their classmates in both friendship and acquaintance groups. This research may provide researchers with a deeper understanding of cognitive factors that may influence student motivation in group learning environments in schools.