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Academic Motivation: Theories, New Measures, and Potential Applications

Emmerich, Walter
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Prediction of Academic Performance, Academic Achievement, Student Motivation, Attribution Theory, Multivariate Analysis


Academic motivation is complex, calling for a multivariate approach to measurement based on multiple theories as well as reliance on several validation criteria. A conceptual framework is provided as background for translating motivational theories into measures. Drawing on interest theory, attribution theory, and a version of expectancy-value theory, three new self-report instruments for assessing academic motivation are introduced. In a study of college students, initial evidence is provided on scoring, reliability, validity, and relationships with the five-factor model of personality. Several of the measures show promise for research, development, and, under certain conditions, low-stakes applications, such as evaluations of educational outcomes and services designed to help students make better educational decisions.

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