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ERIC Number: EJ1140918
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jun
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0007-0998
Math Grades and Intrinsic Motivation in Elementary School: A Longitudinal Investigation of Their Association
Weidinger, Anne F.; Steinmayr, Ricarda; Spinath, Birgit
British Journal of Educational Psychology, v87 n2 p187-204 Jun 2017
Background: It is often argued that the negative development of intrinsic motivation in elementary school strongly depends on the presence of school grades because grades represent extrinsic consequences and achievement feedback that are supposed to influence intrinsically motivated behaviour. However, only a few studies have tested this hypothesis. Aims: Therefore, we investigated the role of school grades in inter- and intra-individual changes in elementary school students' intrinsic motivation from when grades were first introduced until the end of elementary school, when students in Germany receive recommendations for a secondary school type on the basis of their prior performance in school. Sample: A sample of 542 German elementary school students (t[subscript 1]: M = 7.95 years, SD = 0.57) was followed for 2 years from the end of Grade 2 to the end of Grade 4. Methods: At seven measurement occasions, children's math grades and their domain-specific intrinsic motivation were assessed. Results: Latent growth curve models showed differences in trajectories of intrinsic motivation across students rather than uniform development. Moreover, students' trajectories of grades and intrinsic motivation were only weakly associated. A latent cross-lagged model revealed that reciprocal effects between the two constructs over time were small at best. Conclusions: Contrary to theoretical considerations, our results indicate that negative performance feedback in the form of grades does not necessarily lead to a decrease in intrinsic motivation. This calls into question the common opinion that a perception of being less competent, as reflected by poor grades, is responsible for weakening students' intrinsic motivation.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 2; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education; Grade 3; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A