Authors: Dr Prathiba Nagabhushan
Developing and maintaining motivation and engagement of students appear to be the central tasks that can improve chances of their future success. Teachers, parents and students themselves need a better understanding of the nature of motivation and how it can facilitate engagement over the final years of secondary education. The main purpose of the current study was to investigate the relationships between motivational cognitions and behaviors towards learning in the college years (Years 11 and 12). This study followed students from Years 10 to 11 and 12 and asked them to report on multiple facets of motivation and engagement in each year (N=299) for three years. Factor analyses demonstrated that 11 factors described by Martin (2003), in his Student Motivation and Engagement Scale (SMES-HS), offer an adequate model to understand student motivation and engagement in each year. This enabled a detailed study of the relationships between motivational cognitions and behaviors in each year. The results showed that the gap between students’ cognitions and behaviors towards school work widened between Years 10 and 12. Limitations of the current study are discussed and recommendations for future research are presented.
Keywords: motivation; engagement; cognitions; behaviors; college students