Gender differences in the strength of association between motivation, competency beliefs and reading skill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: There is concern in the education community regarding gender
differences in reading, as girls regularly outperform boys. There is also concern
about the consequences of low motivation for children’s engagement in reading
and learning. An important question is whether boys’ motivation is more closely
linked to their attainment compared with girls.

Purpose: The aim of the study was to examine how closely children’s reading
skill correlates with their intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and competency
beliefs. There was a particular focus on gender.

Sample: There were 492 children (240 boys) aged 7–11 in this study from four
primary schools in England, UK.

Design and methods: Children completed a reading comprehension assessment
and a questionnaire examining intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and competency
beliefs relating to reading and schoolwork. For analysis, children were split into a
younger (age 7–8) and older (age 9–11) age group.

Results: In both the younger and older groups, the boys’ competency beliefs in
reading and intrinsic motivation for reading and schoolwork were significantly
more closely associated with their level of reading skill, in comparison with the
girls.

Conclusions: The closer reciprocal relationship between boys’ intrinsic motivation, competency beliefs and reading skill could be interpreted in at least two ways. Firstly, boys’ motivation and beliefs in their ability may be more dependent on their success in reading. Alternatively, boys’ motivation and competency beliefs may play a more significant role in the effort they put into reading.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-94
Number of pages9
JournalEducational Research
Volume53
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • reading
  • gender
  • motivation
  • competency beliefs

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