Commenced in January 2007
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School-Based Intervention for Academic Achievement: Targeting Cognitive, Motivational and Affective Factors

Authors: Joan Antony


Outcome in any learning process should target three goals – propelling the underachiever’s engagement in the learning process, enhancing the drive to achieve, and modifying attitudes and beliefs in his/her capabilities. An intervention study with a three-pronged approach incorporating self-regulatory training targeting three categories of strategies – cognitive, metacognitive and motivational – was designed adopting the before and after control-experimental group design. The evaluation of the training process was based on pre- and post-intervention measures obtained through three indices of measurement – academic scores based on grades on school examinations and comprehension tests, affective variables scores and level of strategy use obtained through responses on scales and questionnaires, and content analysis of subjective responses to open-ended probes. The evaluation relied on three sources – student, teacher and parent. The t-test results for the experimental and control groups on the pre- and post-intervention measurements indicate a significant increase on comprehension tasks for the experimental group. Though statistically significant difference was not found on the school examination scores for the experimental group, there was considerable decline in performance for the control group. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was applied on the scores obtained on affective variables, namely, self-esteem, personal achievement goals, personal ego goals, personal task goals, and locus of control. The experimental group showed increase in personal achievement goals and personal ego goals as compared to the control group. Responses given by the experimental group to the open-ended probes on causal attributions indicated a considerable shift from external to internal causes when moving from the pre- to post-intervention stage. ANCOVA results revealed significantly higher use of learning strategies inclusive of mental learning strategies, behavioral learning strategies, self-regulatory strategies, and an improvement in study orientation encompassing study habits and study attitudes among the experimental group students. Parents and teachers reported significant progressive transformation towards constructive engagement with study material and self-imposed regulation. The implications of this study are three-fold: firstly, strategies training (cognitive, metacognitive and motivational) should be embedded into daily classroom routine; secondly, scaffolding by teachers through activities based on curriculum will eventually enable students to rely more on their own judgements of effective strategy use; thirdly, enhanced confidence will radiate to the affective aspects with enduring effects on other domains of life as well. The cyclic nature of the interaction between utilizing one’s resources, managing effort and regulating emotions forms the foundation for academic achievement.

Keywords: Academic achievement, cognitive strategies, metacognitive strategies, motivational strategies.

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