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Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 195–221 | Cite as

Meanings of Education for University Students: Academic Motivation and Personal Values as Predictors

  • Donna Henderson-KingEmail author
  • Michelle N. Smith
Article

Abstract

We conducted two studies to determine the meanings that undergraduate students ascribe to their education and how these meanings relate to relevant psychological constructs: academic motivation and values. Ten meanings emerged: career preparation, independence, finding direction for the future, learning, self-development, taking the next step, making social connections, changing the world, stress, and escape. Support was found for many of the predicted relationships. For example, enjoyment motivation positively predicted all of the meanings, except taking the next step, stress, and escape. Also as expected, the values of intellectualism and academic achievement positively predicted learning, self-development, and changing the world. However, contrary to expectations, valuing physical development also emerged as a significant predictor of several of the meanings of education.

Keywords

meaning education motivation values undergraduate students 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentGrand Valley State UniversityAllendaleUSA

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