A study of the relationship between achievement motivation and academic achievement in Mexican-American elementary school boys



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This study involved an investigation of achievement motivation and its relation to academic success in 50 Mexican-American elementary school boys, ranging in age from 10.6 to 13.9 years of age. Mexican-American subjects were selected for this study because of this group's low level of educational attainment and cultural heritage which would tend to promote motivational retardation. The hypothesis of the study was that a sample of achieving elementary school boys would have a greater need to achieve than a sample of nonachieving boys. A review of the literature produced some studies which concluded that achieving students do experience a greater need to achieve than nonachieving students, while other studies reported findings to the effect that this relationship does not exist. Most of these studies involved college students. A short version of a Thematic Apperception Test developed by McClelland was used to attain a measurement of achievement motivation in the subjects. Additional measures of motivation were obtained from a vocational choice and three wish projections made by each boy and teachers' ratings of the subjects' desire to achieve in school. An analysis of the data revealed no significant differences between the achieving and nonachieving boys along the dimensions of n achievement, vocational choice, or wish projections. A statistically significant correlation was obtained between intelligence and achievement motivation; correlations between n achievement and grade point averages and between n achievement and teachers' ratings of the subjects' desire to achieve were not significant. These results were discussed in terms of the validity of the measuring instrument, the definition of achievers and nonachievers, the possibility that the two groups did not in fact differ with respect to n achievement, and the relationship obtained between intelligence and achievement motivation. Three promising avenues of research were suggested.



Mexican American children, Education, Academic achievement