Questioning new directions in understanding student motivation: An investigation into the domain specificity of motivational goals

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist, 2013, 30 (2), pp. 171 - 190
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Most past models of student motivation have assumed that student motivation generalises across various achievement situations and curriculum domains; however, research has not fully explored the extent to which motivation may be domain-specific (Green, Martin, & Marsh, 2007; Martin, 2008). The purpose of the present investigation was to explore this issue by comparing and contrasting generalised models of motivation with domain-specific models and how they relate to achievement outcomes in mathematics and English. Secondary students (N = 476) completed both the domain-general (ISM, McInerney, 2003) and the researcher-derived domain-specific motivational measure (DSSM) followed by a standardised achievement test (WRAT-3, Wilkinson, 1993). Overall, the study resulted in mixed findings. There was some indication that there was enough independent variance between the domain-specific goal types to suggest they were tapping distinct constructs as found in previous research (Green et al., 2007). However, the small and often inconsistent correlations with achievement outcomes brings into question the usefulness for educators and the research practicality of pursuing such a division. © 2013 Australian Psychological Society Ltd.
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