CHINESE LANGUANGE LEARNERâ€™S MOTIVATION, INTENDED EFFORT, AND CONTINUATION OF STUDY
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Motivation has been widely recognized as one of the key factors in second language (L2) learning and teaching. Yet very few motivational studies have examined adolescents’ motivation to learn a specific L2 within the framework of the contemporary expectancy-value theory, even less empirical research has been done in the Chinese as a Second Language (CSL) setting. It is unclear whether there are differences between boys’ and girls’ perceptions of expectancies for success, task values, and task difficulty in CSL learning. Furthermore, while most research associates motivation with language proficiency, a limited number of CSL studies have addressed the relations between motivation and motivational behaviors such as intended effort and continuation of study. One important purpose of the present study is to apply expectancy-value theory to develop a reliable and valid CSL Learning Motivation Scale which assesses adolescents’ motivation. Based on the literature review, the results of item examination, and expert feedback, a 34-item CSL Learning Motivation Scale was constructed. I conducted a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to examine the factor structures of the final 34 items based on responses from the 219 students in Grade 6-12 at secondary schools in Southwestern United States. The results yielded five factors: ability/expectancy-related beliefs, intrinsic value-linguistic interests, intrinsic value-cultural interests, utility/attainment value, and perceived task difficulty. The final 34-item CSL Learning Motivation Scale displayed high internal consistency (α=.92). The reliabilities of the above five factors were .87, .80, .84, .92, and .86, respectively. Furthermore, this study examined if adolescents’ expectancy-value motivation in CSL learning significantly predicted their motivational behaviors. The results of regression analysis demonstrated that expectancy-value constructs explained 64% of the variance in intended effort and 74% of the variance in continuation of study. Specifically, expectancy/ability beliefs, intrinsic value-linguistic interests, utility/attainment value, and task difficulty perceptions significantly predicted students’ intended efforts. Expectancy/ability beliefs, intrinsic value-linguistic interests, and utility/attainment value significantly predicted continuation of study. In addition, this study attempted to explore gender differences in expectancy-value motivation in the CSL setting. MANOVA analyses revealed that gender differences in these motivational constructs were not significant.