Assessment of adolescents' motivation for educational attainment

Heining Cham, Jan N. Hughes, Stephen West, Myung Hee Im

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The Adolescent Motivation for Educational Attainment Questionnaire is a 32-item questionnaire (we drew 20 items from 3 subscales of the Educational Motivation Questionnaire; Murdock, 1999) that was developed to measure multiple potential dimensions of adolescents' motivation to complete high school and enroll in post-secondary education, including competence and effort beliefs; perceived value of education; and peer, teacher, and parent support for educational attainment. We assessed a multiethnic sample (N = 569) of low-achieving students who started 1st grade together in 1 urban and 2 small city school districts. Participants were assessed over 2 consecutive years (Grades 8 and 9 given prior grade retention, or Grades 9 and 10 if not retained). Exploratory factor analyses identified 4 correlated dimensions underlying the questionnaire responses. Subsequent confirmatory factor analyses provided support for a bifactor model, which includes a general factor of students' basic educational motivation, and specific factors of (a) teacher educational expectations, (b) peer aspirations, and (c) value of education. Measurement invariance of the bifactor model was established across students' gender and ethnicity (Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic) and year of testing. Criterion-related validity of the general and specific factors with students' school belonging, student-teacher warmth and conflict, disciplinary practices, letter grade, conduct problems, and behavioral engagement was examined. Practical implications of the measure are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-659
Number of pages18
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Adolescence
  • Adolescent Motivation for Educational Attainment Questionnaire
  • Educational motivation
  • Measurement invariance
  • School completion
  • School dropout

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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