December 21, 2012

Predicting Long-Term Growth in Students' Mathematics Achievement

Predicting Long-Term Growth in Students' Mathematics Achievement: The Unique Contributions of Motivation and Cognitive Strategies

by Kou Murayama, Reinhard Pekrun, Stephanie Lichtenfeld, & Rudolf vom Hofe

This research examined how motivation (perceived control, intrinsic motivation, and extrinsic motivation), cognitive learning strategies (deep and surface strategies), and intelligence jointly predict long-term growth in students' mathematics achievement over 5 years. Using longitudinal data from six annual waves (Grades 5 through 10; Mage = 11.7 years at baseline; N = 3,530), latent growth curve modeling was employed to analyze growth in achievement. Results showed that the initial level of achievement was strongly related to intelligence, with motivation and cognitive strategies explaining additional variance. In contrast, intelligence had no relation with the growth of achievement over years, whereas motivation and learning strategies were predictors of growth. These findings highlight the importance of motivation and learning strategies in facilitating adolescents' development of mathematical competencies.


  1. Two predominant folk theories of success are: "you're born with talent" and "if you want it enough, you will succeed". These correspond to innate intelligence and motivation in this paper. What I find interesting is the addition of learning strategy as a critical element for success.

  2. I agree. As Carol Dweck has often pointed out, growth is a matter of effort and strategy


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