Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This study was a continuance of prior research and theory on the nature and assessment of motivation. The focus was on the academic performance situation. Existing empirical and theoretical work was utilized to formulate a complex causal model which identifies constituent elements related to motivation and performance, and which explicates their respective relationships. The theoretical model was employed to create an operational model for measurement and prediction of collegiate grade performance, a cumulative index of performance.

Three main fields of theory and inquiry were incorporated in the model: Attribution theory, self-system theory and metacognition theory. Literature dealing with pertinent knowledge in these areas and their interfacings was discussed in the process of outlining the theoretical model. Measures were selected on this basis to form the operational model. Measures included indices of effort, ability, locus of control, self-esteem and study style.

Regression analyses were used to determine which elements were useful as collective predictors of grade-point average. Reliability and validity were investigated for the individual measures. Finally, the operational model was investigated using the LISREL-VI program.

Results indicated that some twenty-five percent of the variance in grade-point average was accounted for by the model. Most useful predictors were ability, effort and study methodology, respectively. Reliability and validity estimates were concordant with known characteristics in the literature.

The operational model was found to have been mismapped onto the theoretical model initially, with the result being a model which could not be analyzed by the LISREL program due, in part, to very poor fit with the data. After reformulation, without statistical aid, the model succeeded in accounting for about ninety-one percent of the total variance in the data. The fit of the model to the data was good.

Overall, while the model was well- specified in terms of internal relationships, there is need to specify additional parameters in future studies. Possibilities were discussed.

Results were generally encouraging, despite observable weaknesses. These weaknesses and means of coping with them were discussed. Also, this study was placed in reference to other research and directions for future study were considered.