Investigating achievement emotions and learning strategies

Investigating achievement emotions and learning strategies as
mediators of achievement goals and academic achievement
J. Ranellucci1, N. C. Hall1, K. Hubbard1, & T. Goetz2
McGill University1, University of Konstanz2
The control-value theory of achievement emotions
posits that environmental factors, such as goal
structures, instructional quality, and prior
achievement predict student appraisals, including
control, value, achievement goals, and beliefs, which
in turn predict student emotions, which predicts
students’ learning via motivation to learn,
investment of cognitive resources, use of learning
strategies, which ultimately predicts achievement
(Pekrun, 2006).
The present study proposes a five-step model
leading from fall semester GPA, to personal
achievement goals, to achievement emotions, to
learning strategies, and finally to winter semester
GPA, and thus represents a comprehensive,
empirical evaluation of Pekrun’s (2006) control-value
Furthermore, this study builds on prior research (for
instance Daniels et al., 2009) in a number of ways,
including, investigating all variables simultaneously,
separating performance goals into approach and
avoidance dimensions, by incorporating measures
assessed at multiple time points, and by including a
relevant, but rarely investigated variable, namely
Two hundred three undergraduate students enrolled
in various programs in a large American university
volunteered to participate in this study (N = 133
males). The mean age of participants was 19.76 (SD
= 1.87).
Participants were recruited by email and filled out
the questionnaires online at their leisure. Participants
filled out the questionnaires during the first month of
the winter semester, and provided consent for their
fall and winter semester GPAs to be collected directly
from the registrar. The questionnaire package
consists of a brief questionnaire measuring
conventional demographic variables, followed by the
measures listed in the model.
Method (cont.)
Discussion (cont.)
The Hypothesized Model. Solid paths indicate
positive and broken lines indicate negative paths
An interesting finding, is the relationship found
between boredom and time management. In line
with reports of “altered perceptions of time” (Pekrun
et al., 2010), boredom negatively predicted time
management. This relationship is theoretically
aligned, with important practical considerations, that
have largely been overlooked in the literature.
Achievement goals. Measured with Elliot and Murayama’s
(2008) Achievement Goal Questionnaire-Revised (AGQ-R),
which consists of three items per goal. A sample masteryapproach (α = .86) item is “My aim is to completely master the
material presented in class.” A sample performance-approach (α
= .91) item is “I am striving to do well compared to other
students.” A sample performance-avoidance (α = .91) item is
“My goal is to avoid learning less than I possibly could.”
Participants responded on a five point Likert scale ranging from
1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Mastery-avoidance
was not included in the analysis.
A peculiar finding is that critical thinking negatively
predicted winter GPA. Conceptually, critical thinking
is often viewed as an adaptive strategy that should
positively predict academic achievement (for
instance Muis & Franco, 2008). A possible
explanation is that critical thinking is incompatible
with the compliant type of learning found in many
educational institutions.
Achievement emotions. Measured with Pekrun et al.’s (2011)
Achievement Emotions Questionnaire (AEQ). Enjoyment (α =
.84) was measured with 10 items, a sample item is “I look
forward to studying”, boredom (α = .91) was measured with 11
items, a sample item is “The material bores me to death”, and
anxiety (α = .90) was measured with 11 items, a sample item is
“I get tense and nervous while studying”. Participants responded
on a five point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to
5 (strongly agree).
Learning strategies. Pintrich et al.’s (1991) Motivated
Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) was used to
measure critical thinking and elaboration. Critical thinking (α =
.77) was measured with 5 items, a sample item is “I treat
course material as a starting point and try to develop my own
ideas about it”. Elaboration (α = .77) was measured with 6
items, a sample item is “I try to relate ideas in a subject to
those in other courses whenever possible”. Participants
responded to the MSLQ subscales on a seven point Likert scale
ranging from 1 (not at all true of me) to 5 (very true of me).
Britton and Tesser’s (1991) Time-management Questionnaire
(TMQ) was used to measure time management. Time
management (α = .85) was measured with 18 items, a sample
item is “Do you make constructive use of your time?”
Participants responded on a five point Likert scale ranging from
1 (never) to 5 (very often). Self-monitoring (α = .82) was
measured with a 4 item scale adapted by Perry et al. (2001). A
sample self-monitoring item is “When I study, I can recognize
when I’ve studied enough to pass a test.” Participants responded
on a five point Likert scale ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (very
GPA. Fall and winter GPA was collected from the registrar
Structural equation modelling was used to assess the structural
relationships between the variables of interest. The model was run with
all possible paths included. Given the limited sample size and the large
number of items measuring boredom, anxiety, enjoyment, and timemanagement, three parcels for each variable were created via random
selection (see Little et al., 2002). Covariates included year of study, age
and high school grade.
The Structural Equation Model. Resulted in
satisfactory fit, χ2 (364, N = 203) = 568.6, p < .001,
CFI = .915, and RMSEA = .053.
This study included three measurement times, future
studies should extend these findings across all steps.
Furthermore, future research should evaluate the
control-value theory with alternative assessments of
motivation, emotion, and strategies, including
different constructs and non self-report based
Britton, B. K. & Tesser, A. (1991). Effects of time-management practices on college
grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 405-410.
Daniels, L. M., Stupnisky, R. H., Pekrun, R., Haynes, T. L., Perry, R. P., Newall, N. E.
(2009). A longitudinal analysis of achievement goals: From affective antecedents to
emotional effects and achievement outcomes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101,
Elliot, A. J. & Murayama, K. (2008). On the measurement of achievement goals:
Critique, illustration, and application. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100, 613-628.
Little, T. D., Cunningham, W. A., Shahar, G., & Patall, E. A. (2002). To parcel or not to
parcel: Exploring the question, weighting the merits. Structural Equation Modeling, 8,
Muis, K. R. & Franco, G. M. (2008). Epistemic beliefs: Setting the standards for selfregulated learning. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 34, 306-318.
Pekrun, R. (2006). The control-value theory of achievement emotions: Assumptions,
corollaries, and implications for educational research and practice. Educational
Psychology Review, 18, 315-341.
Pekrun, R., Elliot, A. J., & Maier, M. A. (2009). Achievement goals and achievement
emotions: Testing a model of their joint relations with academic performance. Journal
of Educational Psychology, 101, 115-135.
Many of the hypothesized paths were consistent with
prior empirical work (for example Daniels et al.,
2009; Pekrun et al., 2009) and overall the results
provide support for the control-value theory.
Mastery-approach goals positively predicted a variety
of adaptive outcomes, such as enjoyment and
elaboration, and negatively predicted boredom.
Evidently, a mastery-approach goal, paired with prior
success, set the scene for an encouraging
subsequent semester.
Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., Frenzel, A. C., Barchfeld, P., & Perry, R. P. (2011). Measuring
emotions in students’ learning and performance: The achievement emotions
questionnaire (AEQ). Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36, 36-48.
Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., Daniels, L. M., Stupnisky, R. H., & Perry, R. P. (2010). Boredom
in achievement settings: Exploring control-value antecedents and performance
outcomes of a neglected emotion. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102, 531-549.
Perry, R. P., Hladkyj, S., Pekrun, R., & Pelletier, S. (2001). Academic control and action
control in the achievement of college students: A longitudinal field study. Journal of
Educational Psychology, 93, 776-789.
Pintrich, P. R., Smith, D., Garcia, T., & McKeachie, W. (1991). A manual for the use of
the motivated strategies for learning questionnaire (MSLQ). Ann Arbor, MI: University
of Michigan.

similar documents