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PBA Home > Institutional Research & Analysis > Outcomes Assessment > Measure of Motivation


The January-February edition of Assessment Update contains a brief article on a scale that two researchers at James Madison University have developed to measure examinee motivation in connection with assessment. It's called the Student Opinion Scale (SOS) and it's a 10-item scale with 5-point responses scaled strongly agree--strongly disagree. The instrument and scoring instructions can be downloaded from the Center for Assessment and Research Studies -- look for the link to assessment resources and methods.

The scale has been extensively factor-analyzed and has two factors, effort and importance. The first assesses the level of effort and persistence students put forth; the second measures the personal relevance or importance of the tasks just completed. The authors suggest the scale is useful in experimental studies of ways to increase student motivation, and can also assist units in interpreting assessment data collected.

Some studies conducted with the scale so far have shown findings in accordance with expectations, thus suggesting high validity:

  • Total, importance, and effort scores are each positively correlated with performance scores
  • High-stakes and low-stakes conditions result in different motivation and performance scores
  • There are higher motivation scores where motivation-enhancing strategies are used (e.g., a welcoming speaker or interviewing students about assessment and the instruments used).
  • There are lower motivation scores in rooms where there are test administration difficulties (e.g. timing errors, incorrect answer sheets).
  • There are lower motivation scores where tasks are arduous (e.g., essays or complex constructed-response items).

Some CU-Boulder units may wish to use this scale in connection with their assessment efforts.

PBA: PS-- L:\IR\OUTCOMES\aoc\motivmeas.doc - 3/14/02.

Last revision 03/14/02

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