Personal investment, academic motivation, and achievement among early adolescents in Trinidad and Tobago

Sonel Rowley, Fordham University


Academic motivation has long been recognized as an essential element in students’ academic achievement. However, to date, there is little empirical research on the motivational characteristics of students in Trinidad and Tobago. Thus, the overarching purpose of the present study was to use the tenets of personal investment (PI) theory (a cross-culturally relevant model of academic motivation) to develop an understanding of Trinidadian students’ academic motivation and its relationship to academic achievement. The sample consisted of 203 early adolescents enrolled in first form at secondary schools in Trinidad. An exploratory factor analysis revealed that the multidimensional model of motivational goals proposed by PI theory is applicable to the Trinidadian setting. Results also demonstrated strong links between the various facets of meaning (i.e., perceived motivational goals, academic self-concept, and facilitating conditions) posited in PI theory. Furthermore, correlations showed that students endorsed mastery goals most favorably and latent profile analysis demonstrated that students are motivated by multiple academic goals and generally adopt adaptive motivational profiles. Finally, multiple regression analyses revealed that the three facets of meaning posited in PI theory predicted students’ English and mathematics achievement. Specifically, English self-concept significantly predicted English GPA and parental interest in schoolwork was found to be a negative predictor of English GPA. Regarding math achievement, math self-concept and task goals significantly predicted math GPA. Contrary to expectations, parental achievement value and English teacher support were found to be negative predictors of math GPA. Implications of the findings for educational practice and future research are discussed.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Rowley, Sonel, "Personal investment, academic motivation, and achievement among early adolescents in Trinidad and Tobago" (2017). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10145744.