Beyond IQ: A Model of Academic Competence and Motivation (MACM) project post. To give a "hint" at the content and scope of this post regarding the MACM proposal, I'd like to draw readers attention to an excellent recent article by Byrnes and Miller (2007) in the journal Contemporary Educational Psychology.
My forthcoming MACM model post is concerned with addressing contemporary calls for a more comprehensive school learning aptitude model/framework. The "opportunity-propensity" model of school achievement of Byrnes and Miller is an excellent example of a similar (and more ambitious) attempt to provide a large heuristic framework (represented in the visual model above) from which to understand school learning. According to Byrnes and Miller, their model is grounded, in part, on the following:
- "As any comprehensive handbook of educational research illustrates (e.g., Alexander & Winne, 2006), the field of educational psychology is subdivided into distinct research areas such as motivation, instruction, reading achievement, math achievement, and so on. Scholars who specialize in one of these areas tend not to specialize in others. In addition, researchers within each of these areas often focus on specific components of some predictor of achievement (e.g., motivational goals) to the exclusion of other components of that same predictor (e.g., motivational attributions), and also rarely include constructs from other research areas in their studies (e.g., domain-specific skills and aptitudes). Because the problem of student achievement is so complex, it makes sense that various subgroups of researchers would try to make this problem initially more tractable by examining individual or small sets of factors in their studies of achievement. Indeed, much has been learned about these aspects of achievement in the process. However, the continued tendency to focus on a limited number of predictors within each study of achievement has led to two related problems. One is that scientists and policy makers do not have a sense of how all of the various pieces of the achievement puzzle fit together. A second problem is that the relative importance of various predictors is still largely unknown because researchers have not typically included adequate controls in their studies." (p. 599- 600).
My forthcoming MACM proposal is less ambitious and deals primarily with the non-cognitive ability portions of these larger models. In the Byrnes and Miller model, and in accordance with the spirit of the late Richard Snow, they refer to these learner characteristics as "propensities". As they stated in their article:
- Propensity factors, in contrast, are any factors that relate to the ability or willingness to learn content once it has been exposed or presented in particular contexts. Thus, cognitive factors such as intelligence, aptitude, cognitive level, and pre-existing skills would qualify, as would motivational factors such as interest, self-eﬃcacy, values, and competence perceptions (Byrnes, 2003; Corno et al., 2002; Eccles, Wigﬁeld, & Schiefele, 1998; Jones & Byrnes, 2006; Sternberg, Grigorenko, & Bundy, 2001). Self-regulation is a hybrid of cognitive (e.g., beliefs) and motivational (e.g., eﬃcacy) orientations (Pintrich, 2000), so it would also qualify as a propensity factor. We further assume that when the opportunity and propensity conditions are fulﬁlled in an individual (i.e., they have been exposed to content in an eﬀective manner and were willing and able to take advantage of this learning opportunity), higher achievement will follow directly. As a result, opportunity factors and propensity factors are considered to be proximal causes of achievement.
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