British Journal of Educational Psychology

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Volume 79 Issue 4 (December 2009), Pages 599-782

Grade differences in reading motivation among Hong Kong primary and secondary students (pages 713-733)

Background Most previous studies in Western societies have demonstrated a general decline in school motivation. However, it is not clear whether motivational decline occurs uniformly for all students. The moderating effects of individual and cultural differences on students' motivational decline need to be further explored.

Aims This study aimed to examine the grade differences in students' reading motivation, including self‐efficacy, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and social motivation, in a Chinese educational context. Grade by gender and grade by school‐average achievement interactions were also checked to explore the role of individual differences in students' motivational changes.

Sample A total of 1,794 students (860 boys and 934 girls) volunteered to take part in this study, of whom 648 were Grade 4–6 students from 11 primary schools, 627 were Grade 7–9 students from 12 junior secondary schools, and 519 Grade 10–11 students from 6 senior secondary schools.

Method A Chinese version of the Motivation for Reading Questionnaire (CRMQ) was administered to all participants during regular class periods by their teachers. Reliability analyses and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) were first undertaken to assess the psychometric quality of the CRMQ. Then, multisample CFA was conducted to examine whether the factor structure of the CRMQ was equivalent across students at different grade levels. Grade differences in various reading motivation constructs as well as grade × gender and grade × school‐average achievement interactions were examined using multiple‐indicator‐multiple‐causes modelling.

Results The findings of this study supported the reliability and the factor structure of the CRMQ in measuring the reading motivation of Chinese students at different grade levels. The factor pattern of the CRMQ was invariant across primary, junior secondary, and senior secondary students in multisample CFA. As far as the scores on the four reading motivation constructs were concerned, students scored most highly on intrinsic motivation, followed by self‐efficacy, extrinsic motivation, and social motivation. Significant grade differences were found in all reading motivation constructs whereas only a few grade by gender and grade by school‐average interactions were found.

Conclusion Consistent with previous studies in Western countries, the findings suggest that motivational decline is also a common phenomenon among Chinese students in Hong Kong. In addition, the pattern of motivational differences is generally consistent among students with different genders and from schools with different achievement levels. The implications of these findings for understanding Chinese students' reading motivation and for planning effective reading instruction to enhance their motivation are discussed.

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