Performing with motivation: The longitudinal relationship between educational motivation and school performance
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Students with poor grades and poor educational motivation are more likely to engage in criminal behavior, to be unemployed and have mental health problems. Relationships between educational motivation and school performance have been found, but there is a lack of studies that look at its bidirectional relationships. Therefore, this three-wave longitudinal study investigated (1) the bidirectional relationship between educational motivation (i.e., intrinsic and extrinsic motivation) and school performance, (2) the mediating role of independence, (3) and the moderating role of sex. The sample consisted of 759 students aged 11 to 15 and the participants filled in an online questionnaire. The findings showed a positive relationship was found between educational motivation and subsequent school performance. Independence did not mediate this relationship and sex did not moderate the relationship. There was no evidence for a reverse relationship and interesting differences were found between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In summary, this study indicates that, students with high educational motivation perform better at school, but students with good grades do not develop higher educational motivation. More research is needed on the found differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and in future studies it is important to distinguish between these two types of motivation.