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2006Research Conference | June 15–16

This conference highlighted the work of invited speakers, independent researchers who have received grant funds from the Institute of Education Sciences, and trainees supported through predoctoral training grants and postdoctoral fellowships. The presentations are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Education or the Institute of Education Sciences.
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
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Motivational Patterns of Middle-school African American Students in Low-SES Urban Schools

Stephanie Siler, Carnegie Mellon University
Junlei Li, Carnegie Mellon University
David Klahr, Carnegie Mellon University

Abstract: Very little of the research on motivational patterns of minority students has been "situated within the literatures on motivation and competence" (Graham & Hudley, 2005). According to the underlying theoretical model in this literature, students' theories of intelligence and self-efficacy jointly influence the achievement goals that students adopt, and these goals in turn influence learning behaviors (e.g., attentiveness, persistence) and, ultimately, learning outcomes. We investigated the extent to which the motivational model proposed by Dweck and Leggett (1988) accounted for such patterns for African-American middle school students in three different urban low-SES schools. We compared these patterns with those of middle-class White 7th graders in another school within the same school system. We found unique patterns in each of the four schools, including differences in which achievement goals were associated with intelligence and self-efficacy beliefs, and the relationships between achievement goals and learning outcomes. These initial results also suggest that the motivational model better explained patterns for the majority than for the minority students in this study. However, further studies are needed to support these findings.