Motivational Regulation with Other Components of SRL and Academic Achievement

Apart from the studies identifying whether and how students try to regulate their motivation in academic settings, there were studies trying to examine the relations of motivational regulation with other components of SRL, including motivational beliefs such as goal orientations and selfefficacy, cognitive strategies, and metacognitive strategies as well as academic achievement.

Wolters (1998) examined the motivational regulation strategies used by college students in a mid-western university in the USA, the differences in using these strategies across different contextual factors and their relationships with other aspects of SRL and achievement. The results of correlation analysis indicated that intrinsic regulation and learning-goal orientation were moderately and positively related, as were extrinsic regulation and performance-goal orientation. However, intrinsic regulation was negatively related to performance-goal orientation and extrinsic regulation was also negatively related to learning-goal orientation. Further, intrinsic regulation had a positive relation to students’ reported use of organization, elaboration, critical thinking, and metacognitive strategies. Extrinsic regulation, in contrast, was negatively related to students’ reported use of organization, elaboration, and metacognitive strategies. The study also found that students’ motivational regulations were related positively but not significantly to their course grade, and the correlation coefficients were very low. The further regression analyses indicated that intrinsic regulation was a significant positive predictor of students’ reported use of elaboration, critical thinking, and metacognitive strategies. In contrast, extrinsic regulation was unrelated statistically to any of the cognitive strategies examined. However, regression analyses found that extrinsic regulation was a significant predictor of course grade, but intrinsic regulation was not.

Wolters (1999) studied the relationships between five motivational regulation strategies and effort, the use of six cognitive and metacognitive learning strategies (i.e., rehearsal, elaboration, organization, planning, monitoring, and regulation), and teacher-reported grades by investigating 88 ninth-and tenth-grade students. The five motivational regulation strategies were self-consequating, environmental control, performance self-talk, mastery self-talk, and interest enhancement. Overall, the results indicated moderate to strong relations between students’ motivational regulation and their use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies. Each of the motivational regulation strategies related significantly to three or more of the cognitive and metacognitive learning strategies. Furthermore, all of the significant correlations between motivational regulation and learning strategy measures were positive, indicating that students who reported using the motivational strategies more frequently tended to report using the cognitive and metacognitive learning strategies more frequently as well. Each of the five motivational regulation strategies related positively to effort. On average, students who reported using the motivational regulation strategies more frequently also reportedly provided greater effort and persistence for school tasks. In contrast, the motivational regulation strategies were not strongly tied to students’ classroom performance as indicated by teacher reported grades and only performance self-talk was significantly related to student’s grade.

McCann (1999) examined the impact of volitional control on academic learning process and achievement. Volitional control in this study refers to motivation and emotion control and was measured by the AVSI instrument. The study found that volitional control was significantly related to the use of learning strategies, but not to academic achievement. The results of the study also indicated that volitional control played a mediating role between motivation factors and learning strategies. Volitional control had strong mediating effects between intrinsic goal orientation, extrinsic goal orientation, test anxiety, and the learning strategy variables. Therefore, the contention that volitional control serves a protective function in one’s intention to learning was tentatively supported by the findings in this study.

Wolters and Rosenthal (2000) studied the relations between students’ motivational beliefs (i.e., task value, goal orientations, and self-efficacy) and their use of five motivational regulation strategies (i.e., self-consequating, environmental control, performance self-talk, mastery self-talk, and interest enhancement) by investigating 114 eighth grade students. The results of correlation analysis indicated that:

  • • Learning-goal orientation was related to each of the five motivational regulation strategies from moderately to strongly.
  • • Task value was significantly related to four of the five motivational regulation strategies with the exception of performance self-talk.
  • • Self-efficacy was positively related to students’ reported use of four of the five motivational regulation strategies with only the correlation between self-efficacy and students’ reported use of self-consequating failing to reach significance.

However, even the relations between self-efficacy and the regulatory strategies that reached statistical significance were generally not as strong as those found between task value and learning-goal orientation and the motivational regulation strategies. Finally, results from the bivariate analyses indicated that performance-goal orientation was related negatively to three of the motivational regulation strategies: mastery self-talk, interest enhancement, and environmental control. In addition, the multivariate regression analyses indicated that task value, learning-goal orientation, performance-goal orientation, selfefficacy, and standardized math achievement accounted for a significant portion of the variance in all five motivational regulation strategies. A tentative conclusion drawn from this study was that students’ use of motivational regulation strategies serves as a mediator between motivational beliefs and their effort and persistence at academic tasks. Apart from the results above, the Pearson product-moment correlations also indicated a positive but not strong relationship between motivational regulation and achievement, that is, the motivational regulation strategies were not strongly related to achievement.

Cherng (2002) explored the regulatory strategies college students used and the interaction among academic tasks, motivational problems, and students’ regulatory strategies. In addition, this study also examined the relations of these strategies with achievement. The results suggested that motivational regulation consisting of extrinsic regulation and intrinsic regulation correlated significantly with exam performance and could predict the exam performance.

Fang (2003) examined the characteristics of SRL development among Chinese junior middle school students and found that there existed three different developmental models about the relationship between cognition, motivation, and behavior in SRL for different graders in junior middle school. The study (Fang, 2003) brought the factor of motivation-emotion volition into the SRL model. The results suggested that motivation and emotion control strategies had a mediating role between motivation and cognitive strategy use. The motivation and emotion control strategies also played an important role in influencing achievement, but the influence was not direct. These strategies influenced achievement indirectly through the use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies. Although motivation and emotion control strategies were included in the model of SRL, motivational regulation was not systematically studied with only several items being included to investigate the motivational regulation strategies used by these middle school students.

Li and Lin (2003) investigated the motivational beliefs and motivational regulation strategies of senior high school students in Taiwan, and explored the relationships between self-efficacy, expectancy for success, academic task value, and motivational regulation strategies. Five general types of motivational regulation strategies were examined in this study: performance goal competition, mastery goal and interest promotion, environment and resources management, self-control, and self-rewards. The strategy used most by these students was self-control. There were also differences in using motivational regulation strategies in terms of grade and gender. The study found that the middle school students of grade three used more motivational regulation strategies than students of grade one and grade two, and female students used the strategies of mastery goal and interest promotion and environment and resources management more frequently than male students. Canonical correlation analysis indicated that the students who had higher self-efficacy, expectancy for success, and academic task value tended to use “aggressive” motivational regulation strategies, including performance goal competition, mastery goal and interest promotion, and environment and resources management. Those who had lower motivation beliefs tended to use “conservative” self-control regulation strategies.

Su and Cherng (2005) examined the relationship between students’ action orientation, goal orientations, and motivational regulation strategies, and investigated the use of motivational regulation strategies by junior high school students in Taiwan toward mathematics learning. The motivational regulation strategies examined in this study were intrinsic motivation regulation, extrinsic motivation regulation, emotion control, volition control, behavior control, and environment control. The study found that:

  • • there were mean level differences in students’ use of motivational regulation strategies examined;
  • • action orientation could positively predict junior high school students’ six types of motivational regulation strategies;
  • • six types of motivational regulation strategies could be positively predicted by mastery approach goal orientation, mastery avoidance goal orientation, performance-approach orientation, and performance- avoidance orientation, and the former two being the best predictors; and
  • • students’ action orientation and motivational regulation strategies were mediated through goal orientations.

Recently, researchers extended and specified the studies about regulation of motivation strategies. Jarvela and Jarvenoja (2011) identified higher education students’ socially constructed motivation regulation in collaborative learning by using three methods: adaptive instrument, video-tapings, and group interviews. They found that the challenges students experienced mainly include teamwork, personal priorities, and collaboration. They also found that the students used a variety of socially constructed motivational self-regulation strategies, such as social reinforcing, task structuring, socially shared goal-oriented talk and efficacy management.

Schwinger and Stiensmeier-Pelster (2012) proposed a new conceptual model of motivational regulation, which aims to integrate and extend existing conceptions of the self-regulation of motivation (e.g., Pintrich, 2000, 2004; Sansone & Thoman 2005, 2006; Wolters, 1998, 1999, 2003). The study utilized the specific context of preparing for an exam by surveying 301 twelfth grade high school students. Generally, motivational regulation strategies related significantly to students’ current learning effort, but not to students’ exam grade. In turn, students’ current learning effort predicted the exam grade significantly. Separately, only mastery self-talk and proximal goal setting were significantly related to current effort. In addition, the study also found that some motivational regulation strategies (latent motivational regulation strategies index, enhance?ment of situational interest, enhancement of personal significance, and proximal goal setting) had the same effect on effort and achievement across the different school subjects. However, other strategies (all eight motivational regulation strategies simultaneously, mastery self-talk performance-approach self-talk, performance-avoidance self-talk, environmental control, and self-consequating) had different effects in different school subjects.

Wolters and Benzon (2013) identified six motivational regulation strategies using exploratory factor analysis among the college students, that is, regulation of value, regulation of performance goals, self-consequating, environmental structuring, regulation of situational interest, and regulation of mastery goals. This study also indicated that differences in students’ use of these strategies exist, with the regulation of performance goals and environmental structuring is used most often and regulation of situational interest less often than others. In addition, their motivational beliefs and attitudes, such as mastery goal orientation and value of the course, could predict the use of motivational regulation strategies. Of course, it is still impossible to draw any causal conclusions between these variables because of their reciprocal relations.

Schwinger, Steinmayr, and Spinath (2009) proposed that it is not likely for motivational regulation strategies to affect performance directly, but that it is mediated by effort management and moderated by intelligence. They surveyed 231 eleventh and twelfth grade German high-school students and found that motivational regulation strategies had indirect effects on achievement, mediated by effort management. The results support the assumed indirect effect of motivational regulation on achievement, which also supplement the findings of Wolters (1998, 1999, 2003). Intelligence moderates the effects of some, but not all, motivational regulation strategies on effort extension and achievement, with the exception of three goal-oriented self-talk strategies.

Schwinger, Steinmayr, and Spinath (2012) adopted a person-centered analysis perspective to identify the motivational regulation profiles between two samples of German high school and college students and compared the effort expenditure and achievement of the students with different motivational regulation profiles. The study with high school students identified five motivational regulation profiles: high profile, medium profile, low profile (based on profile level, quantitative), interest-focused profile, and goal-focused profile (based on profile shape, qualitative). Differences in effort expenditure between the students with distinct moti?vational regulation profiles existed. Specifically, the higher the profile levels, the more effort the students invest in learning. Goal-focused profile also showed the highest effort expenditure and interest-focused profile the least effort. However, there were no significant differences in school performance between different groups. The study of college students also revealed five subgroups of students with different motivational regulation profiles, that is, high profile, low profile, goal-focused profile, interest- focused profile and performance self-talk profile. The results about the effects of different profiles on effort expenditure and achievement are similar to that of the study with high-school students. Goal-focused profile was found to be more adaptive than interest-focused profile in effort investment and achievement and higher profile levels were associated with higher effort expenditure and school performance.

Grunschel, Schwinger, Steinmayr, and Fries (2016) examined the effects of using motivational regulation strategies on students’ academic procrastination, academic performance, and well-being. They found that most of the motivational regulation strategies correlated significantly and positively with students’ average course grade. The mediation analysis showed that the use of motivational regulation strategies overall, and the use of most of the individual motivational regulation strategies, had significant positive indirect effects on students’ academic performance via academic procrastination.

From the studies reviewed above we can see that motivational regulation, as an important aspect of SRL, plays an important role in the process of SRL. Motivational regulation helps students to provide effort and persist at academic tasks and to avoid maladaptive academic behaviors; students’ regulation of motivation relates positively to the more cognitive and metacognitive aspects of students’ SRL. As for the effects of motivational regulation on students’ achievement or performance, research has suggested that students’ ability to control aspects of their motivation, through the use of various strategies, can impact on their academic learning and achievement (Cherng, 2002; Fang, 2003; Wolters, 1998, 1999). The studies did provide some evidence that motivational regulation is tied to adaptive performance outcomes, that is, students who use motivational regulation strategies are more likely to get better grades than students who do not regulate their motivation. However, the evidence linking motivational regulation strategies with academic performance directly was not strong. Wolters et al. (2003) suggest that any influence regulation of motivation has on achievement is mediated by such factors as effort, persistence, and cognitive engagement. This assumption is also supported by Grunschel et al.’s (2016) and Schwinger et al.’s (2009) studies.

The present study researches motivational regulation in the framework of SRL and also examines relations between motivational regulation and other components of SRL. Therefore, studies on motivational components of SRL and self-regulated learning strategies follow.

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