The Role of Motivation, Cognition, and Conscientiousness for Academic Achievement

Margarete Imhof, Tatjana Spaeth-Hilbert


Based on a cognitive motivational process model of learning, the impact of studying behavior on learning outcome is investigated. First-year students (N = 488) participated in the study. Two research questions were addressed: (1) Can cognitive-motivational variables and objective study behavior predict individual learning? (2) Which factors drive studying behavior? Results show low to moderate correlations between cognitive-motivational variables and performance. A cluster analysis yielded three profiles: (1) interested learners with high academic self-concept and effort investment; (2) low interest learners with high academic self-concept and low effort investment; and (3) interested learners with low self-concept and low effort. Groups 2 and 3 are considered at-risk students for developing a surface approach to learning and for drop out.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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