23 January, 2013

Motivational Theory & Corrective Reading

Impact of Motivation on Corrective Reading Interventions

Motivational theory remains a key component in understanding how and why students learn.  The discussion of student motivation and its effect on student learning is a consistent element discussed across multiple learning and developmental theories (Ormrod, 2008). Motivation as a discussion topic has been used within education to question or validate instructional delivery practices, curriculum/program use, and classroom management procedures.  Three prominent motivational theories often ascribed to in education include; Expectancy model, Goal oriented model, and Attribution theory.

  • Expectancy Theory
    • The Expectancy theory states that student motivation is an outcome of how much the student wants a reward [Valence], the assessment of the likelihood that the effort will lead to an expected performance [Expectancy] and the belief that the performance will lead to reward [Instrumentality](adapted from MSG, n.d.). .
      • Valence is the significance associated by the student about the expected outcome. It is an anticipated [not the actual] satisfaction that a student expects to receive after achieving the goals
      • Expectancy is the faith that better efforts will result in better performance. Expectancy is influenced by factors such as: Student capability of the learning task, Student understanding of how to contribute within the classroom, Student connection to peers and the teacher.
      • Instrumentality is the faith that if the student performs well, then a valid outcome will be actualized.
  • Goal Oriented Model
    • The Goal Oriented theory states that student motivation is the result of the desire to develop the self by acquiring new skills, mastering new situations and improving one's competence.  Two prominent orientations within the theory are discussed as students with learning goal orientation or students with performance goal orientation (Dweck, 1986; Gredler, 2009).
      • Learning Goal Orientation Characteristics: 
        • seek feedback on past performance to evaluate current performance
        • focus on improving skills and acquiring knowledge, and are less concerned with making mistakes
      • Performance Goal Orientation Characteristics
        • approach situations with the goal of gaining approval from peers and teachers
        • seek to demonstrate and validate the adequacy of their competence in order to receive favorable judgments and avoid negative judgments
  • Attribution Theory
    • The basic premise of this theory is that people want to understand their environments and, therefore, strive to understand why certain events happen. In the classroom, the understanding students have about the causes of past events influences their ability to control what happens to them in the future. For example, if students fail a test, they will probably attribute that failure to a specific cause, such as (1) lack of ability, (2) lack of effort, or (3) poor instruction. The selected attribution will affect their subsequent motivation to engage in similar learning activities (Anderman & Anderman, 2009. sec.1).
As our nation continues to focus on reading and closing achievement gaps across subgroups [as reported by the National Assessment of Educational Performance - NAEP] educators often comment [perceive] that remedial and corrective reading programs fail students as the result of lacking motivational substance.  These perceptions can result in a potential avoidance of certain evidence-based programs, the development of a culture of excuses for student failure, or the subscription to alternative popular literature approaches that lack evidence to support their use.

The next few posts will focus on a review of an evidence-based corrective reading program targeted for student in grades 3-12 identified as reading more than 1 -1.5 years behind their peers for evidence of embedded motivational strategies.  The program, simply titled, Corrective Reading was authored by Siegfried Engelmann, Susan Hanner, and Gary Johnson (2008) and is published by McGraw-Hill . Reporting will focus on the identification, application, and benefits of motivational strategies embedded within the program and identify any areas of motivation that may be lacking.


Anderman, E, & Anderman, L (2003-2009). Attribution theory. Retrieved from www.education.com

Dweck, C.S. (1986). Motivational processes affecting learning. American Psychologist, 41, 1040-1048.

Engelman, S., Hanner, S., & Johnson, G. (2008). Corrective reading: Series Guide. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill

Gredler, M. E. (2009). Learning and instruction: Theory into practice (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Management Study Guide (n.d.) Expectancy theory of motivation. Retrieved from www.managamentstudyguide.com

Ormrod, J. E. (2008). Human learning (5th ed.). Upper Sadler River, NJ: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.

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