Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 411–430 | Cite as

American high school students from different ethnic backgrounds: the role of parents and the classroom in achievement motivation

  • Jung-In KimEmail author


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between ethnically diverse US high school students’ (\(N = 331\)) perceptions of their parents’ or classroom’s motivating factors and their achievement motivation in their math class, connecting achievement goal orientation and self-determination theories. Two hypothesized path models were supported, in which the high school students’ goal orientations were predicted by their perceptions of either parental or classroom variables. The students’ academic self-regulated motivations mediated the relationships. An additional hypothesis was supported that students with different ethnic backgrounds (i.e., students of European, Asian, and Latino descent) differed in how their perceptions of their parents’ motivating variables were related to their own achievement motivations, but not the relationships between students’ self-regulated motivations and achievement goal orientations. Implications for achievement motivation of ethnically diverse high school students are discussed.


Achievement motivation Achievement goal orientation   Self-determination theory Contextual factors Ethnic background 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program of Educational PsychologyUniversity of Colorado DenverDenverUSA

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