Using Cognitive Analyses To Understand Motivational And Situational Influences In Science Achievement


Haydel, A.M. (2003, April). Using cognitive analyses to understand motivational and situational influences in science achievement. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.


This study explores the relationship between students’ test perceptions, motivation and engagement in multiple-choice and performance assessment testing contexts. Thirty-three students, a subset of which were classified as mastery-oriented or performance oriented, participated in three think-aloud test sessions and described both their thoughts and feelings as they completed the test items. Students also answered a series of follow-up interview questions related to their motivation during testing and perceptions of the test items. In general, students perceived performance assessments as more valid, interesting and challenging compared to multiple-choice tests. Mastery-oriented students were more likely to use strategic knowledge and help-seeking strategies than performance-oriented students. Performance oriented students tended to rely more on declarative and procedural knowledge during problem solving. Implications of these findings for test score interpretation and assessment development are discussed.

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