Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Motivation and Self-Regulation in Mathematics

Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Motivation and Self-Regulation in Mathematics

Article excerpt


This study explores how self-regulated learning components and motivation contributes to Turkish high school students' mathematics achievement. 752 ninth grade students enrolled in six Turkish high schools completed the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) and a mathematics achievement test in their regular classroom settings. Regression analysis indicated that three motivational belief variables, 1) self-efficacy, 2) test anxiety and 3) extrinsic goal orientation together significantly explained less than 10% of the variances in students' mathematics achievement. The results suggest that motivational beliefs have a considerable influence on the Turkish students' mathematics achievement.


The rapidly changing economic and technological conditions of life require individuals to solve a wide range of problems they have never seen before. In such challenging tasks, people must acquire life-long learning skills to reach their goals. To adapt the challenges of life, they need to be self-regulated and motivated in life. Accordingly, self-regulation and motivation should be related to academic achievement (Pintrich & Schunk, 2002). Here, in this paper, our purpose is to explore the extent to which self-regulated learning components and motivation predict ninth grade Turkish students' mathematics achievement.

Turkey has been under the influence of Western cultural, educational and economical ways since the nineteenth century. Following the foundation of the Republic in 1923, more Western-style education and cultural institutions were established. Turkey's attempt to be a member state of the European Union is part of this two-hundred year-old reform process. These close interactions with the Western community have considerably influenced educational as well as economical and political life of Turkey. As a result, it is expected that being self-regulated and self-motivated should be critical factors in Turkish students' academic achievement. Schunk (2005) points out that most research on SRL has been done in the North American context, and concludes that SRL research is needed in non-Western cultures to understand how values change across cultures. Hence, our purpose was to investigate how well mathematics achievement is explained in terms of motivational beliefs and self-regulated learning components in Turkey.

Self-regulated learning (SRL) and motivational beliefs have appeared as critical components of the discourse in education today (Schunk, 2005). Thus far, researchers have already studied components of SRL and their relationship with academic achievement (Azevedo & Cromley, 2004; Kramarski & Gutman, 2006; Pintfich & De Groot, 1990; Zimmerman, 1998). In a recent study conducted in Turkey, Yukselturk and Bulut (2005) examined relationships among motivational beliefs and self-regulated components and computer programming achievement in two distance education courses. The researchers reported that in the first online course, self-efficacy was found to be a predictor of programming achievement. Self-regulation was statistically related to students' achievement in the second course. As a contribution to this line of research, this study explored the contribution of self-regulated learning components and motivational beliefs to Turkish high school students' mathematics achievement.

As a psychological construct, SRL has been variously defined and modeled. The most recent models of SRL are Boekaerts' Model of Adaptable Learning, Borkowski's Process-oriented Model of Metacognition, Pintrich's General Framework for SRL, Winne's Four-stage Model of SRL and Zimmerman's Social Cognitive Model of Self-regulation (See Puustinen & Pulkkinen (2001) for more information). In this study, we base our discussions on Pintrich's general model framework for SRL.

   Self-regulated learning [is] an active, constructive process
   whereby learners set goals for their learning and then attempt to
   monitor, regulate and control their cognition, motivation, and
   behavior, guided and constrained by their goals and the contextual
   features in the environment (Pintrich 2000, p453). … 
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