Cognitive abilities and motivational processes in science achievement and engagement: A person-centered analysis

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This study adopted a person-centered approach to examine organized patterns of psychological factors and their relations to achievement and engagement in a sample of high school students. Four types of students characterized by unique configurations of cognitive, motivational, and affective characteristics were identified in both the male and female subsamples using inverse factor analysis. Type membership was found to distinguish students in various indicators of science achievement and engagement. Two of the four types were also found to generalize across gender groups. These two generalizable types showed many parallels to Dweck's [(1986). Motivational processes affecting learning. American Psychologist, 41, 1040-1048.] descriptions of mastery-oriented and helpless patterns. This study provides empirical evidence for the replicability, generalizability, and validity of the identified types in the domain of science. It also demonstrates the importance of examining holistic patterns of the individual's functioning and the utility of inverse factor analysis in person-centered research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-504
Number of pages8
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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