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Relations among competence beliefs, utility value, achievement goals, and effort in mathematics

Relations among competence beliefs, utility value, achievement goals, and effort in mathematics

British Journal of Educational Psychology 77(Pt 3): 501-517

Research has shown that motivation is a key factor in the learning process as well as in school achievement. In essence, a number of researchers have highlighted the close link between motivation and achievement-related behaviours such as effort. The present study aims to acquire more specific information concerning the relations between competence beliefs, utility value and achievement goals in mathematics among secondary school students, to further document the influence of social agents, and to better understand the relationships between these variables, as well as to effort. Participants were 759 Grade 7 to Grade 11 students (389 males, 370 females). Structural equation modelling techniques were used to test a model of achievement-related behaviours (effort) in mathematics based on support from social agents, competence beliefs, utility value and achievement goals. Several self-reported scales were administered. Results indicate that effort in mathematics is mainly explained by mastery goals and competence beliefs. As for the role of social agents, results demonstrated that the perception of parental support chiefly explained variables associated with the valuing of mathematics while teachers' support acted most on competence beliefs. Two main conclusions stem from our results. First, mastery goals have an important and significant impact on students' effort in the learning of mathematics. Second, the nature and the strength of the relationships between competence beliefs, utility value, achievement goals and effort are not significantly influenced by age and gender, at least in mathematics.

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Accession: 055462260

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PMID: 17908372

DOI: 10.1348/000709906x133589

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