Academic Success and Struggle: A Study of Motivation and Literacy in a Sample of Low-Income 7th Graders

Year Published: 2003

SKU: 410

Authors: Michelle Porche, Ed.D., Stephanie J. Ross, M.A.

This paper investigates the influence of motivation and gender on the language and literacy achievement of a group of 54 lowincome children in 7th grade who have been followed since they were three years old. Mixed methods were used to explore the relation between motivational resources (including perceived scholastic competence, engagement in learning, and future aspirations) and reading and achievement outcomes. Reading comprehension ability, as measured by standardized tests, was shown to be necessary but not sufficient for academic success for both boys and girls. While there were no significant gender differences in motivation as measured by scholastic competence and engagement, students' written narratives suggested that boys and girls diverge in their understanding and expression of motivation as it relates to future aspirations and goals.

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