A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF MOTIVATION TO ACHIEVE IN SCHOOL WITH OVER- AND UNDERACHIEVING STUDENTS

VINCENT DENNIS MAZZILLI, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine both the total motivation to achieve in school scores and the profile patterns formed by the affective, conceptual, purposive, instrumental, and evaluative components hypothesized to be the constituents of motivation with a view to drawing comparisons between male and female, overachievers and underachievers in kindergarten, first-, fifth-, and eighth-grade students. Within and cross-grade comparisons were made for the subgroups.^ The instrument used to measure motivation to achieve in school for kindergarten and first-grade students was Animal Crackers: A Test of Motivation to Achieve (Adkins & Ballif, 1975). Motivation to achieve in school for the fifth- and eighth-grade students was measured by MOCOS: Motivation Components for Learning in School, Fifth-Grade Form (Ballif, 1978) and Junior High School Form (Ballif, 1977) respectively.^ The subjects were 320 public school students evenly divided in number from the kindergarten, first-, fifth-, and eighth-grade. The 80 students from each grade level were grouped evenly into male and female, overachievers and underachievers.^ Overachievers and underachievers were determined by the discrepancy scores between actual achievement and predicted achievement as obtained from a regression equation predicting achievement criterion from aptitude. Aptitude scores were obtained for all subjects from the Otis-Lennon Mental Ability Test appropriate for each grade. Achievement scores were obtained by combining the total reading and total math subtests of the Stanford Achievement Tests. For each grade, a frequency distribution of discrepancy scores (plus and minus) were compiled. The 20 students of each sex with the most positive or negative residuals were classified as overachievers and underachievers respectively.^ A levels test for total motivation mean scores was calculated by a regular 2 x 2 x 4 analysis of variance which indicated that there were significant differences due to the main effects of grade level and achievement but not for sex. A Newman-Keuls test indicated a significant increase in total motivation scores from kindergarten to first-grade and a significant decrease in total motivation mean scores from the fifth- to the eighth-grade. The findings suggest that maturation and school experiences are factors in the differential acquisition of the five components which are the basis for the total motivation score.^ The statistical significance of the achievement group variable indicated that overachievers had higher total motivation scores than underachievers at all four different grade levels. This finding supported the theoretical construct that overachievers would score significantly higher on total motivation scores than underachievers.^ A profile multivariate analysis of variance used to analyze the differences in shapes of the profile patterns of the five component scores for the subgroups found significant results for grade level, achievement level, and a grade by achievement interaction effect. A Hotelling T('2) was used to identify the locus of profile differences.^ The within and cross-grade comparisons of profile component scores indicated that both overachievers and underachievers tended to obtain their most depressed scores on the affective (school work enjoyment) and conceptual (self-confidence) components as age and amount of years in school increased. However, it was the underachievers' score on these two components, particularly the conceptual component in the fifth- and eighth-grades, which were most markedly deficient. The significant differences in motivation patterns between overachievers and underachievers, as well as between the same achievement groups at different ages, points to the need for conceptualizing achievement motivation as a multi-dimensional construct. ^

Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology

Recommended Citation

VINCENT DENNIS MAZZILLI, "A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF MOTIVATION TO ACHIEVE IN SCHOOL WITH OVER- AND UNDERACHIEVING STUDENTS" (January 1, 1980). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8020998.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8020998

Share

COinS