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Title:Achievement Motivation: An Area-Specific Analysis
Author(s):Castenell, Louis Anthony, Jr.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Educational Psychology
Abstract:The investigator studied adolescents of different races, socioeconomic backgrounds, and sexes, and attempted to identify the components by which they arrive at their self-evaluations. The study attempted to assess specifically whether adolescents of varying backgrounds differ in their comparative levels of general and area-specific (i.e., school, home, and peer) achievement motivation. It also investigated the question of whether adolescents are capable of maintaining differing levels of achievement motivation across the different areas of experience, and whether the capacity to do so varied with the race, socioeconomic status, and sex of the subjects.
The study used an established achievement motivation measure (Epps) consisting of 13 items and a new measure (Castenell) consisting of 10 items. This new measure has a coefficient alpha of .73 which is a satisfactory level of reliability. In addition, this new measure is believed to be more multidimensional than Epps' scale because it is composed of subscales consisting of both academic and non-academic factors. It is also thought to be a discriminating measure of area-specific achievement motivation (i.e., school, peer, and home). The interview schedule also included a self-concept of ability measure based on Brookover's scale for further analysis of the relationship between general and area-specific achievement motivation.
The study used a representative sample of 310 eighth graders in the Champaign, Illinois, school system. Eighth graders were chosen because they are believed to be old enough to understand the questions asked. The Champaign school system was chosen because of its wide variations in student characteristics and because it offered the opportunity to study adolescents within an entire school system.
The data was analyzed through the use of Correlation, Analysis of Variance, Factor Analysis, and Multiple Regression programs, in an attempt to identify group similarities and differences.
The findings of the study indicated that there were significant differences on general measures of achievement motivation as well as on the area-specific measure. That there were significant differences on Epps' measure by race (Whites higher), sex (males higher), and social class (middle-class higher). On the other hand, Castenell's measure reported significant differences by race (Blacks higher) and sex (males higher) only.
The findings also indicated that there were significant differences by race with SES controlled in school and home achievement motivation with Blacks scoring higher than Whites, that peer achievement motivation did vary significantly by race and sex with Blacks and males, respectively, scoring higher than Whites and females, and that there were significant variations in the degree to which and order in which the area-specific achievement motivation and self-concept of ability measure predicted general achievement motivation across both SES and race lines.
The significance of the study lies in suggesting that race and social class exercise a great influence on specific types of achievement behavior. That adolescents of varying groups are capable of differentially discriminating across different areas of experience, and that such differences may be explained as realistic adaptation to historical and institutional factors. Finally, the significant negative correlation between the scores of Blacks on Castenell's Home measure and Epps' General measure suggests that the high value of collectivity within the Black culture is confounded by traditional notions of individualism as being essential to achievement motivation.
Issue Date:1980
Description:100 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8108461
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1980

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