Differences in Motivation and Cognitive Learning Strategy Use from High School to College and Impact on First-Semester College Grade Point Average
Type of Degreedissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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The academic success of a college student is dependent upon many factors, among which are motivation and learning strategies. A substantial amount of research using these variables has been done; however, there is a lack of studies that address differences in motivation and learning strategy use from high school to college. One purpose of this study was to determine if motivation and learning strategy use differs from high school to college. A second purpose was to determine if motivation and learning strategies used in college are significantly related to first-semester college grade point average. College students enrolled in an engineering orientation course responded to the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ), revised to elicit responses for high school and for college. Resulting data were analyzed using multivariate and univariate analyses of variance as well as multiple regression analyses. Results from the multivariate and univariate analyses indicated that differences existed in motivation and learning strategy use in high school and in college. Means for the six MSLQ motivation scales were significantly different with those for college being higher than those for high school with the exception of the mean for self-efficacy which was higher in high school. Means for eight of the nine MSLQ learning strategy scales were significantly higher for college. No significant difference was found for help seeking. The regression analyses yielded significant multiple correlations between first-semester college grade point average and the weighted combination of the MSLQ motivation variables iii and learning strategy variables, respectively. From the univariate perspective, a significant relationship was found between first-semester grade point average and the motivation variables of task value and self-efficacy for learning and performance. As well, a significant relationship was found between first-semester college grade point average and the learning strategy variables of time and study environment, effort regulation, and help seeking. These findings support the hypothesis that motivation and learning strategy use are more pronounced in college than in high school. Given the evidence that motivation and learning strategy variables were related to collegiate grades underscores their importance. However, relationships found were not of the magnitude to warrant making academic decisions based only on MSLQ variables.