Academic motivation of degree-seeking undergraduate students at a for-profit university in the United States
Students attending for-profit colleges and universities represent approximately 11% of the undergraduate population yet little is known about their academic motivation while attending. The Academic Motivation Scale (AMS) (Vallerand, Pelletier, Briere, Senecal, & Vallieres, 1992), grounded in self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985b), has been used successfully for numerous studies. The AMS has not been tested with a for-profit student population. The AMS and personal data questionnaire were administered via an Internet survey hosted by Survey Gizmo to for-profit students attending face-to-face classes in the United States. The study uses an exploratory design where subjects were selected using a convenience sample (N = 44). Cronbach’s alpha was calculated to measure the internal consistency and reliability of the AMS with for-profit students. Cronbach’s alpha was greater than 0.70 for all the AMS’s seven subscales and two aggregate scales implying the AMS is appropriate for use with for-profit student populations. The study evaluated possible correlations between academic motivation and age. Spearman’s rho correlation coefficient calculations revealed no statistically significant relationship between academic motivation and age. Academic motivation was also tested a predictor of self-reported GPA via ordinary least squares regression. A natural log transformation was conducted to restate the data into a more normal distribution. After transformation, GPA was not a statistically significant predictor of GPA. The aggregate measure of extrinsic motivation was statistically significantly higher than the aggregate measure of intrinsic motivation. No statistically significant difference was found among the three extrinsic motivation subscales. Intrinsic motivation to experience was statistically significantly different than intrinsic motivation to know and intrinsic motivation to accomplish. Cronbach’s alpha was “good” or better for all measure of academic motivation. No statistically significant relationship was found among academic motivation and age. Academic motivation was not revealed to be a useful predictor of GPA.