Methods

Abstract

The current study examined how motivation developed in four Australian senior secondary colleges, using Martin's model of motivation and engagement. It explored changes in the nature of academic motivation through a longitudinal design with three measurement points by examining the factor structure of the SMES-HS, the concurrent associations among its constructs at each point in time, stability and mean differences between the constructs across time and gender. In this chapter, the methods used in the current study will be explained.
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Participants

Students from four non-government colleges in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) participated in the study. Two colleges were coeducational, the third was a boys’ college and the fourth was a girls’ college. All four colleges offered Years 10, 11 and 12 (Time 1, Time 2 and Time 3 respectively) in the same campus. At Time 1 (2005), 315 students from two co-educational colleges were enrolled in the study. To increase the power of the study, a second group of Year 10 students (N= 222) was recruited one year later (2006). Students provided complete data sets at all three times. The first wave of data was collected in October of Year 10 (2005 & 2006) and the following waves in October of Years 11 and 12 as shown in Table 2. This table shows two groups of Year 10 students considered for the study in 2005 and 2006 and those students being followed through in Years 11 and 12 (in 2006, 2007 & 2008). The mean age of students at Time 1 was 15.67 (SD = .49); at Time 2, 16.57 (SD= .51) and at Time 3, 17.49 (SD = .68).

The participants were at the same educational levels, in similar types of colleges and under the same educational authority, the Board of Senior Secondary Studies (BSSS). The selected schools followed the same academic curriculum and shared a similar ranking on the Australian Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) (ACARA, 2010). Ranks on the ICSEA are based on the measures of occupational and educational level of parents/carers, and/or socio-economic characteristics of the areas where students live, location of the school in a metropolitan, regional or remote area and proportion of Indigenous students enrolled at the school. The selected schools were all above the average ICSEA value of 1000 with values of 1018, 1093, 1104 and 1124. For these reasons the two sets of Time 1 students were expected to be very similar in their school-related experiences.

The number of participants according to gender across four years of data collection is shown in Table 1. At Time 1 (Year 10) of the study 315 students from two co-educational schools were enrolled. To increase the power of the study, a second group of Year 10 students (N= 222) from two schools was recruited one year after the first group. An overall chi-square showed there were no significant differences in socio-economic status and the sub-scale scores of the motivational constructs between the two groups of students who constituted the Time 1 sample: χ2= 1.35, df=1, p > .05.

Table 1.
Details of the data: 2005-2008 (number of students; boys/girls)
Year/Year GroupYear 10Year 11Year 12Total
Group 1Group 2Group 1Group 2Group 1Group 2
2005315 (146/169)-----315
(146/169)
2006-222
(63/159)
215
(100/115)
---437
(163/274)
2007---168
(55/113)
157 (71/86)-325
(126/199)
2008-----142 (51/91)142
(51/91)
Total315 + 222
(537)
215+168
(383)
157+142
(299)
1219
(487/732)

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