Thursday, October 16, 2008

IQ Research bytes #5: Working memory and motviation orientation

The most recent issue of the Journal of Educational Psychology has a number of interesting articles which are featured below.

Working memory and intelligence in children: What develops? By Swanson, H. Lee

  • This study explored the contribution of the phonological and executive working memory (WM) systems to 205 (102 girls, 103 boys, 6 to 9 years old) elementary school children's fluid and crystallized intelligence. The results show that (a) a 3-factor structure (phonological short-term memory [STM], visual-spatial WM, and verbal WM) was comparable between age groups, (b) controlled attention and STM storage accounted for 67% of the age-related variance in WM, (c) effect sizes for direct paths from WM were substantially larger when predicting fluid intelligence than crystallized intelligence, and (d) the contribution of STM to intelligence was isolated to reading. The results suggest that the development of WM is distinct from STM, controlled attention plus storage accounted for age-related WM changes, and WM underlies age-related changes in both fluid and crystallized intelligence.
The following articles all deal with some important conative variables related to academic and intellectual performance, as I've summarized in a Model of Academic Competence and Motivation (MACM) in my Beyond IQ Project. (esp. note section on Motivation Orientation)

On the measurement of achievement goals: Critique, illustration, and application. By Elliot, Andrew J.; Murayama, Kou

  • The authors identified several specific problems with the measurement of achievement goals in the current literature and illustrated these problems, focusing primarily on A. J. Elliot and H. A. McGregor's (2001) Achievement Goal Questionnaire (AGQ). They attended to these problems by creating the AGQ-Revised and conducting a study that examined the measure's structural validity and predictive utility with 229 (76 male, 150 female, 3 unspecified) undergraduates. The hypothesized factor and dimensional structures of the measure were confirmed and shown to be superior to a host of alternatives. The predictions were nearly uniformly supported with regard to both the antecedents (need for achievement and fear of failure) and consequences (intrinsic motivation and exam performance) of the 4 achievement goals. In discussing their work, the authors highlight the importance and value of additional precision in the area of achievement goal measurement

The relationships among students' future-oriented goals and subgoals, perceived task instrumentality, and task-oriented self-regulation strategies in an academic environment. By Tabachnick, Sharon E.; Miller, Raymond B.; Relyea, George E.
  • The authors performed path analysis, followed by a bootstrap procedure, to test the predictions of a model explaining the relationships among students' distal future goals (both extrinsic and intrinsic), their adoption of a middle-range subgoal, their perceptions of task instrumentality, and their proximal task-oriented self-regulation strategies. The model was based on R. B. Miller and S. J. Brickman's (2004) conceptualization of future-oriented motivation and self-regulation, which draws primarily from social-cognitive and self-determination theories. Participants were 421 college students who completed a questionnaire that included scales measuring the 5 variables of interest. Data supported the model, suggesting that students' distal future goals (intrinsic future goals in particular) may be related to their middle-range college graduation subgoal, to their perceptions of task instrumentality, and to their adoption of proximal task-oriented self-regulation strategies.

Addressees of performance goals. By Ziegler, Albert; Dresel, Markus; Stoeger, Heidrun

  • As performance goals aim to both procure acknowledgment of one's abilities and to avoid revealing a lack of one's abilities, the authors hypothesized that students hold specific performance goals for different addressees and that there are specific correlational patterns with other motivational constructs. They analyzed a data set of 2,675 pupils (1,248 boys and 1,426 girls) attending Grades 8 and 9 (mean age=15.0, SD=0.97). The students completed a questionnaire consisting of 12 items measuring performance approach goals and 12 items measuring performance avoidance goals. In each subset, 4 groups of addressees were differentiated: parents, teachers, peers, and the acting individual him/herself. Additionally, several external criteria were measured. The authors concurrently tested theory-driven, structural equation models. Incorporating all 24 items, the best-fitting model was a multitrait-multimethod model, which posited 2 factors for approach and avoidance goals and 4 addressee factors. While performance goals addressing parents showed relationships to maladaptive motivational and learning patterns, performance goals addressing classmates and self showed relationships to adaptive motivational and learning patterns. The relationships between performance goals addressing teachers and external criteria were rather weak and unsystematic.

Achievement goals and achievement during early adolescence: Examining time-varying predictor and outcome variables in growth-curve analysis. By Shim, S. Serena; Ryan, Allison M.; Anderson, Carolyn J.
  • The present study advances understanding of (a) the development of achievement goals, (b) the changing association of achievement goals and achievement over time, and (c) the implications of changes in achievement goals for changes in achievement over time. African American and European American adolescents' (N=588) achievement goals and subsequent achievement were assessed at 4 time points (fall and spring of 6th and 7th grades) and modeled using growth-curve analytic techniques. There was an overall decline in all 3 types of achievement goals (mastery, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance goals), because of within-year rather than between-year decreases. The association between mastery goals and achievement was null at Time 1 and then positive at the following 3 time points. The association between performance-approach goals and achievement went from negative to null across time. Changes in students' goals, as well as their initial levels of goals, were particularly important in understanding how mastery goals foreshadow achievement. The implications of the findings for both theory and practice are discussed.
Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments: