chapter  11
13 Pages

Motivation to learn

ByAndrew J. Martin

Motivation is defined here as students’ inclination, energy, and drive to learn, work effectively, and achieve to potential (Martin 2007, 2009). Motivation is relevant to students’ interest in study, enjoyment of study, participation in class, and academic achievement (Martin, Marsh, and Debus 2001a, 2001b, 2003; Pintrich 2000, 2003; Schunk and Miller 2002). It is therefore not surprising that a major rationale for the study of motivation is prompted by declines in academic achievement and participation. For example, international tests have identified a decline in the mathematics achievement of middle-school students (Thomson et al. 2010). There are declining numbers enrolling in advanced and intermediate mathematics and science courses at school (Barrington 2006). Other research has identified significant differences in motivation and engagement and literacy between boys and girls, with girls often outperforming boys (Martin 2007; Thomson et al. 2010). There are gaps in problem solving and achievement for immigrant youth (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 2006) and significantly lower achievement for indigenous students (Thomson et al. 2010). Even among highperforming nations in international testing (e.g. Australia), there is significant intra-nation variability in achievement and engagement, with some states scoring significantly higher than OECD averages and other states performing below OECD averages (Thomson et al. 2010). Taken together, there is a national and international context for the role and presence of student motivation.