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Activity Achievement Emotions and Academic Performance: A Meta-analysis

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Abstract

Achievement emotions are emotions linked to academic, work, or sports achievement activities (activity emotions) and their success and failure outcomes (outcome emotions). Recent evidence suggests that achievement emotions are linked to motivational, self-regulatory, and cognitive processes that are crucial for academic success. Despite the importance of these emotions, syntheses of empirical findings investigating their relation with student achievement are scarce. We broadly review the literature on achievement emotions with a focus on activity-related emotions including enjoyment, anger, frustration, and boredom, and their links to educational outcomes with two specific aims: to aggregate all studies and determine how strongly related those emotions are to academic performance, and to examine moderators of those effects. A meta-analytical review was conducted using a systematic database of 68 studies. The 68 studies included 57 independent samples for enjoyment (N = 31,868), 25 for anger (N = 11,153), 9 for frustration (N = 1418), and 66 for boredom (N = 28,410). Results indicated a positive relation between enjoyment of learning and academic performance (ρ = .27), whereas the relations were negative for both anger (ρ = − .35) and boredom (ρ = − .25). For frustration, the relation with performance was near zero (ρ = − .02). Moderator tests revealed that relations of activity emotions with academic performance are stronger when (a) students are in secondary school compared with both primary school and college, and (b) the emotions are measured by the Achievement Emotions Questionnaires – Mathematics (AEQ-M). Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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*Studies included in the meta-analysis are denoted by an asterisk.

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Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Funding

This work was financially supported by the Science of Learning Research Centre under Grant number 19636 and the Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship (ID 666493).

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Appendices

Appendix 1.Coding sheet

figure afigure a

Appendix 2. Interrater agreement statistics

Variable

ICC

Kappa

r

.97

 

N

.99

 

r xx

.99

 

r yy

.99

 

Age

1.00

 

Subject domain

 

.68

Education level

 

.99

Performance measure

 

.94

Function of test

 

.95

Emotion measure

 

.94

Nationality of participants

 

.94

Temporal specificity of emotions

 

.95

Type of learning settings

 

.99

Publication status

 

.99

  1. r effect size, N study sample size, rxx reliability of the achievement emotion variable, ryy reliability of the performance criterion variable

Appendix 3. Reliability distribution descriptive statistics for the relations between activity achievement emotions and academic achievement

Variable

Reliability coefficients for activity achievement emotions

Reliability coefficients for performance

N R

N E

M

SD

N R

N E

M

SD

Enjoyment

52

--

.85

.07

7

50

.91

.03

Anger

22

--

.84

.09

1

24

.85

--

Frustration

6

--

.80

.06

--

9

--

--

Boredom

57

--

.87

.07

6

60

.91

.03

  1. Note: NR = Number of reliability coefficients reported; NE = Number of reliability coefficients estimated; M = Mean; SD = Standard Deviation

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Camacho-Morles, J., Slemp, G.R., Pekrun, R. et al. Activity Achievement Emotions and Academic Performance: A Meta-analysis. Educ Psychol Rev 33, 1051–1095 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-020-09585-3

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