Changes in student motivation over the final year of high school

Lorraine Smith


The final year of high school in New South Wales (Australia) is characterised by a high stakes, performance-oriented learning environment. This article is a report of the results of an investigation into the changes over time that may occur in the achievement motivation of final-year school students. Two sets of analyses of repeated measures are reported. The results indicate that declines occur in students’ attributes of productive achievement motivation, such as performance-approach learning goal orientation and academic self-efficacy, with concomitant increases in non-productive attributes such as self-handicapping strategies, anxiety and depression. These findings are discussed in the light of a model of achievement motivation (Anderman & Maehr 1994) and Bandura’s (1993) self-efficacy theory.

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