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What Keeps Chinese Students Motivated in Doing Math Homework? An Empirical Investigation


by Fuyi Yang, Jianzhong Xu, Heping Tan & Ningjian Liang — 2016

Background: As many students face the enduring challenge of maintaining their motivation to complete homework assignments, there is a critical need to pay close attention to homework motivation management (i.e., students’ efforts to sustain or enhance their motivation in order to complete homework assignments that might be boring or difficult). Yet, in spite of research showing that homework motivation has a powerful influence on homework performance and academic achievement, there have been few attempts to systematically investigate models of factors that influence homework motivation management.

Purpose: The current investigation examines empirical models of motivation management for Chinese students in the context of math homework, with models informed by key motivation theories, including self-regulation of motivation, expectancy-value, and volitional control.

Research Design: The study reported here used cross sectional survey data.

Participants: The participants were 1,799 high school students from 46 classes in China.

Results: Results from multilevel analyses indicated that, at the class level, motivation management was positively associated with homework interest, but was negatively associated with teacher feedback. At the student level, motivation management was positively related to managing emotion, managing time, students' interest in homework, cognitive reappraisal, expectancy belief, and time on sports. Meanwhile, motivation management was negatively associated with value belief and time on TV.

Conclusion: The current investigation found that some results were in line with key motivation theories and related findings with U.S. students (e.g., managing time, and homework interest at the student level). In addition, it suggests that other results may be influenced by cultural and societal differences (e.g., gender, value belief, and teacher feedback). Consequently, it would be informative to pursue this line of research in cross-cultural settings. With respect to promoting student motivation in the homework process, it would be beneficial to pay more close attention to the role of homework interest, expectancy belief, and student initiatives (e.g., managing time, managing emotion, and cognitive reappraisal).



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 118 Number 8, 2016, p. 1-26
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 21367, Date Accessed: 10/17/2017 5:50:43 AM

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About the Author
  • Fuyi Yang
    East China Normal University
    E-mail Author
    FUYI YANG is an associate professor in the Department of Special Education at East China Normal University. His research interests focus on cognitive and social development of children with special needs, assessments for children with special needs, and early intervention. Recent publications include one article in Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, titled “Examining the Psychometric Properties of the Homework Management Scale for High School Students in China” and one article in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, titled “The Roles of Cortisol and Pro-inflammatory Cytokines in Assisting the Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.”
  • Jianzhong Xu
    Mississippi State University
    E-mail Author
    JIANZHONG XU is a professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Foundations at Mississippi State University. His research interests focus on teaching and learning in the school and home setting, in home-school relationships, and in partnerships with culturally diverse families. Recent publications include two articles in American Educational Research Journal titled “Models of Secondary School Students’ Interest in Homework: A Multilevel Analysis” and “Promoting Student Interest in Science: The Perspectives of Exemplary African American Teachers" (with L. T. Coats and M. L. Davidson).
  • Heping Tan
    East China Normal University
    E-mail Author
    HEPING TAN is an associate professor in the Department of Special Education at East China Normal University. His research interests focus on cognitive development of children with special needs and psychological counseling for children with special needs. Recent publication includes one article in Neuroscience titled “The Developmental Disruptions of Serotonin Signaling May Be Involved in Autism During Early Brain Development” and one article in Journal of Schooling Studies, titled “An Investigation on the Learning Adaptability of Students with Hearing Impairments.”
  • Ningjian Liang
    East China Normal University
    E-mail Author
    NINGJIAN LIANG is a professor in the School of Psychology and Cognitive Science at East China Normal University. His research interests focus on cognitive psychology, social cognition and personality. Recent publications include one article in Psychological Science titled “The Nature of Implicit Self-esteem: Evidence from Extrinsic Affective Simon Task (EAST)” and one article in Studies of Psychology and Behavior titled “Using the Multifactor Traits Implicit Association Test (MFT-IAT) to Measure Multidimensional Implicit Self-concepts.”
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