An integrative cultural view of achievement motivation in learning math : parental and classroom predictors of goal orientations of children with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds

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Kim, Jung-in, 1978-

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With the remarkable increase in immigration since the passage of the 1965 Immigration Act, approximately one in five children in the United States has at least one foreign-born parent (Hernandez & Charney, 1998). This study was an investigation of how students’ perceptions of their parents shaped the kind and degree of motivational goal orientations that they adopted in their mathematics classroom taking students’ different cultural and ethnic backgrounds into account. In this study, students of different ethnic backgrounds enrolled in an American high school reported their achievement goal orientations and self-regulated motivations for their math class, as well as their perceptions of parents’ goals for them, parents’ motivating styles, and the classroom’s goal structures. A total of 138 9th grade Anglo American students and Asian American students were included in the data analyses. In path analyses, Anglo American and Asian American students’ goal orientations were predicted by their perceptions of their parents’ goals for them as well as their parents’ motivating styles, mediated by the students’ self-regulated motivation. For both Anglo American and Asian American students, autonomous self-regulated motivation predicted mastery goal orientation, and less autonomous self-regulated motivation predicted performance goal orientations. However, the students’ perceptions of parental influence from different ethnic/cultural backgrounds were different in predicting students’ self-regulated motivations. Interestingly, Asian American children’s perceptions of parents’ controlling style as well as parents’ autonomy support could predict their mastery goal adoption via identified regulation, and their perception of parental control even predicted their intrinsic regulation. It was also interesting to note that Asian American students’ perceptions of parents’ goal orientations for them predicted their own goals not only directly but also mediated by their self-regulated motivations, unlike Anglo American students whose perceptions of parents’ goals predicted their own goals only mediated by their self-regulated motivations. An integration of self-determination theory and goal theory is offered, broadening the application of these two theories to students of different ethnic/cultural backgrounds.