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Achievement motivation, self-worth protection and academic outcomes in grades 3 through 6


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Smith, NA 2009 , 'Achievement motivation, self-worth protection and academic outcomes in grades 3 through 6', DPsych(Clin) thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The roles that self-worth protection, goal orientation, and academic selfefficacy play in student behavior and achievement outcomes have been well documented for students in middle school through college. Research has also shown the impact of parenting style on student achievement motivation and outcomes. However there is little research focused on determining how well these findings and theories apply to students below sixth grade. One issue is whether younger children are aware of such relatively abstract constructs and able to selfreport them validly. An alternative is to have parents rate their children.

Previously used measures of task goal orientation and academic selfefficacy were adapted for younger children. A Children's Self-Worth Protection (CSWP) scale was developed for this study and showed promise in identification of self-worth protective students in Grades 3 to 6. It exhibited adequate test-retest reliability and internal consistency and related in predicted directions, although weakly, with other measures.

In a school district where students transition to middle school at Grade 5, children in Grades 3 (n = 42), 4 (n = 36), and 5 (n = 51) were followed as they transitioned to a new school year. They completed measures of self-worth protection, approach/avoidance, task goal orientation, and academic self-efficacy at the end of one school year and again at the beginning and the end of the next school year. School GPAs and reading and math test scores were obtained at the end of the school year before and after the grade transition. Parents rated their children on approach/avoidance, task goal orientation, academic self-efficacy, and perceived evaluative threat at the beginning of the study. Parents also self-rated their parenting style. Contrary to expectations, parenting style was unrelated to all other measures. Although the expected disruption in self-worth protection, goal orientations, academic self-efficacy and achievement did not occur as a result of transition to middle school, a reduction in task focus and increase in avoidance was t!viuent as students progressed from Grade 3 to Grade 6.

Correlations indicated little discrimination between goal orientations and academic self-efficacy by children or parents. Children's ratings of approach/avoidance, task goal orientation, and academic self-efficacy were substantially correlated and combined to form one factor, called Achievement Orientation, which was predictive of achievement. Parent ratings on the same measures plus perceived evaluative threat were also substantially correlated and combined to form another factor. A Confirmatory Factor Analysis indicated parent-rated Achievement Orientation correlated .64 with school achievement, compared with .36 for children's self-reported Achievement Orientation. Children's rated self-worth protection was distinct from Achievement Orientation, and made a significant additional contribution to parent- and child-rated Achievement Orientation in the prediction of school achievement.

This study has shown that children in Grades 3 to 6 who self-rate as higher self-worth protective are already beginning to achieve at a lower level than their peers. Assessing self-worth protection early in the school system would allow teachers to consider interventions that may reduce its negative effect on academic achievement.

Item Type: Thesis - DPsych(Clin)
Authors/Creators:Smith, NA
Keywords: Achievement motivation in children, Motivation in education, Learning, Psychology of, Student adjustment
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Copyright 2009 the author

Additional Information:

Thesis (DPsych(Clin))--University of Tasmania, 2009. Includes bibliographical references. Goal orientation theory -- Self-worth theory -- Self-efficacy theory -- Achievement motivation across the transition to middle school -- Parenting style and achievement motivation -- Summary, rationale, and aims of the present study -- Method -- Results -- Discussion -- Summary and conclusions -- References -- Appendices

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