Factors in Student Motivation
Authored by: Steven C. Howey
Educators across the country are frustrated with the challenge of how to motivate the ever increasing number of freshmen students entering college who are psychologically, socially, and academically unprepared for the demands of college life. Such students often exhibit maladaptive behavior such as tardiness, hostility towards authority, and unrealistic aspirations.
The standard approach is to address the problem as an academic issue through remedial or developmental instruction. Developmental education programs however do not address the whole problem. Lack of motivation is not limited to the academically weak student. Successful ...view middle of the document...
The histories of psychology and education are abundant with research on motivation and its effect on behavior. The study of motivation in education has undergone many changes over the years, moving away from reinforcement contingencies to the more current social-cognitive perspective emphasizing learners’ constructive interpretations of events and the role that their beliefs, cognitions, affects, and values play in achievement (Pintrich and Schunk, 1996).
Factors, definitions, and theory
Several specific motivational factors have come to light in recent educational research from the social cognitive approach including: Intrinsic Goal Orientation, Extrinsic Goal Orientation, Task Value, Control of Learning Beliefs, and Self-Efficacy for Learning and Performance. These factors are defined as:
* Intrinsic Goal Orientation is having a goal orientation toward an academic task that indicates the students' participation in the task is an end all to itself rather than participation being a means to an end. Also included here is the degree to which students perceive themselves to be participating in a task for reasons such as challenge, curiosity, and mastery (Garcia, McKeachie, Pintrich, & Smith, 1991).
* Extrinsic Goal Orientation concerns the degree to which students perceive themselves to be participating in a task for reasons such as grades, rewards, performance evaluation of others and competition. Students with high in extrinsic goal orientation engage in learning tasks as the means to an end. The main concern here is the students with high Extrinsic Goal Orientation relate to issues rather than those directly related to participating in the task itself (Garcia et al., 1991).
* Task Value refers to students' evaluation of how interesting, how important, and how useful the task is. High task should lead to more involvement in learning. Task value refers to the students' perceptions of the course material in terms of interest, importance, and utility (Garcia et al., 1991)
* Self-Efficacy for Learning and Performance comprises two aspects of expectancy: expectancy for success and self-efficacy. Expectancy for success refers to performance expectations, and relates specifically to task performance. Self-efficacy is a self appraisal of one's ability to accomplish a task and one's confidence in possessing the skills needed to perform that task (Garcia et al., 1991).
* Test Anxiety has been found to be negatively related to expectancies as well as to academic performance. Test anxiety is thought to have two components: a worry, or cognitive component, and an emotional component. The worry component refers to students' negative thoughts that disrupt performance, whereas the emotionality component refers to affective and physiological arousal aspects of anxiety. Cognitive component and preoccupation with performance have been found to be the greatest sources of performance decrement. Training in the use of effective learning strategies...