Academic dissertation

CoverKari Kivinen, Academic dissertation, University of Tampere, Finland, 2003


Education, pedagogy |

Kivinen Kari
Assessing motivation and the use of learning strategies by secondary students in three international schools
Acta Universitatis Tamperensis; 907
Acta Electronica Universitatis Tamperensis; 226

228 p.
Language: eng
Publisher: Tampere University Press. TUP

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“Assessing Motivation and Use of Learning Strategies by Secondary School Students in Three International Schools” is a study to assess the motivational orientations and volitional strategy-use of  secondary school students at international schools in Europe.

The data for this study were gathered from a sample of 198 secondary students from Finland and Luxembourg in 1998­-99. Students answered the MSQL questionnaire, which was modified and translated into French, German and Finnish for this study. The cultural differences between the schools and language sections in this sample were not significant.

In the theoretical part of the study there is a synthesis of recent research into motivation and self-regulated learning, focusing especially on the volitional aspects of learning.

The MSLQ scales correlate significantly with the last grade obtained. They show clear predictive validity. The self-efficacy for learning and performance scale seems to be the most predictive scale (r with the grade = .45). High self-efficacy level, task orientation, intrinsic motivation and the use of cognitive and metacognitive learning strategies seem to be characteristic of skilful learners. Weaker students clearly suffer from test-anxiety.

The results of the additional volitional questionnaire made for this study suggest that at least three volitional factors are to be found in this material: attention control strategies, self-instruction strategies and self-help strategies. These three factors seem to be a logical part of the student’s personal action-control practice. These findings seem to support a model of self-regulated learning in which the students use attention control and self-help strategies to monitor and regulate the use of other strategies (e.g. motivation, cognitive learning and resource management) to complete an academic task.

In the non-linear Bayesian path analyses of this data four major interdependent relationship models were found. These models represent the underlying structures of the scales and factors found in this data. Students seem to have very different strategy when learning mathematics and mother tongue.

The content analysis revealed important differences in the strategy-use of successful and non-successful students. Students with high grades regulated their motivation much more than the less successful students. They also used more attention control strategies, encoding control strategies and cognitive learning strategies. The less successful students used more social control strategies, non-constructive strategies and self-instruction strategies.

The secondary school students, aged 15 to 20, did not have a clear picture of themselves, yet, as students or learners. Schools should offer possibilities for students to learn and practice diverse cross-curriculum competences, such as self-regulatory skills.