On Motivation, Ability And The Perceived Situation In Science Test Performance: A Person-Centered Approach With High School Students


Haydel, A. M., & Roeser, R. W. (2002). On motivation, ability and the perceived situation in science test performance: A person-centered approach with high school students. Educational Assessment, 8, 161-188.


This research examined between-group differences in test-related perceptions, engagement, and performance; and within-group predictors of science performance among groups of high school students characterized by different patterns of science motivation. Patterns of motivation were derived from Dweck’s (1986) typology and were used to classify students as mastery oriented, ego oriented, helpless, or “unclassified by such a typology.” Groups were then compared on their efficacy for performing successfully on science multiple-choice tests, constructed response tests, and performance assessments; their beliefs about the validity of each test format; and their actual performance on multiple-choice and constructed response items. Group differences in gender composition, test perceptions and engagement, and performance were found. Results are discussed in terms of Snow’s (1994) theory of aptitude complexes and their relation to individual differences in performance.

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