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ROLE OF PARENTAL EDUCATION, SELF- EFFICACY AND ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION IN ACADEMIC ENGAGEMENT AMONG NIGERIAN UNDERGRADUATES

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CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

Students’ engagement in academics has been importantly recognized by educators, and it has been observed that too many students are bored, unmotivated, and uninvolved, that is, disengaged from the academic and social aspects of school life.   Over 20 years ago, some researchers remarked that irrespective of the mandatory attendance in the United States high school, engagement could not still be legislated (Mosher & McGowan, 1985); and that laws may regulate the structure of the educational system, but student perspectives and experiences substantially influence academic and social outcomes.  When you say that a person is engaged in something, it means that an extra effort is involved and it can occur in any aspect of life.  However, previous studies on academic engagement explained two significant aspects; the indicators (inside the construct) and the facilitators or causal factors (Skinner, Furrer, Marchand & Kindermann, 2008); but from all indications, student engagement changes with additional years in school.

Audas and Willms (2001) defined academic engagement as the extent to which students participate in academic and non academic activities; identify with and value the goals of schooling. Academic engagement is also defined as energy in action, the connection between person and activity; which consists of three forms: Behavioural, emotional, and cognitive (Russell, Ainley & Frydenberg, 2005). Engagement is a multi-faceted construct that encompasses students’ sense of belonging and connectedness to their school, teachers and peers, sense of agency, self efficacy and orientation to achieve within their classrooms and in their broader extra-curricular endeavours; their involvement, effort, levels of concentration and interest in subjects and learning in general; and the extent to which learning is enjoyed or seen as something that must be endured to receive a reward or avoid sanction.

Connell and Wellborn (1991) posit that when psychological needs such as (autonomy, belonging, competence) are met within cultural enterprises like school, family and work, engagement occurs and is being exhibited in affect, cognition and behaviour to prevent disaffection from occurring.  Engagement is also defined by Skinner and Belmont (1993) as sustained behavioural involvement in learning activities accompanied by positive emotional tone. It is the initiation of action, effort and persistence with schoolwork and ambient emotional states during learning activities (Skinner, Wellborn & Connell, 1990). Furthermore, engagement is a variable state of being that is influenced by a range of internal and external factors including the perceived value or relevance of the learning and the presence of opportunities for students to experience appropriately-pitched challenge and success in their learning.  Engagement can occur in various aspects of life endeavours but our major concern in this study is to understand engagement in the academic aspect of the students’ life.

Academic engagement is the extent to which students are motivated to learn and do well in school (Libby, 2004). It is also a psychological process involving the attention, interest, investment, and effort expended by students in the work of learning (Marks, 2000).  Newmann, Wehlage and Lamborn (1992) noted that student engagement in academic work is the student’s psychological investment in an effort directed toward learning, understanding or mastering the knowledge, skills or crafts that academic work is intended to promote. They try hard to learn what school offers and take pride not simply in earning the formal indicators of success (grades) but in understanding the materials and incorporating or internalizing it in their lives. Learning tasks that engage students have particular characteristics; they are authentic and relevant for students; require and instill deep, critical thinking in them; have intellectual rigour and immerse the student in disciplinary inquiry; require students to interact and be meaningfully involved.

Students’ academic engagement also refers to a student’s willingness, need, desire and compulsion to participate in, and be successful in the learning process thus, promoting higher level thinking for enduring understanding.  Students are engaged when they are involved in their work, persist irrespective of challenges and obstacles, and visibly delight in accomplishing their task. Academic engagement of students depict students’ willingness to participate in routine school activities, such as attending classes, submitting  required work, and following teachers’ directions in class. (Chapman, 2003).  In other words, students can also be academically engaged when they are meaningfully involved throughout the learning environment, which include: students curriculum design, classroom management and school building climate.  Haworth and Conrad (1997) noted that students who learn from committed scholar/teachers become more inspired professionals who are more committed to their profession and to their ongoing professional growth and development.

The construct of engagement is used to capture the gradual process by which students disconnect from school (Finn, 1989). Moreover, with the understanding that dropping out of school is not an instantaneous event, but a process that takes place over time, engagement provides a means of intervention at the earliest signs of students’ disconnection with school and also focuses attention on alterable variables to help increase school completion rates (Christenson, Sinclair, Lehr & Godber, 2001; Connell, Halpern-Felsher, Clifford, Crichlow & Usinger, 1995; Doll, Hess & Ochoa, 2001) and to reform high school experiences that help foster students’ achievement motivation (National Research Council & Institute of Medicine, 2004).

Academic engagement construct is the ‘intensity and emotional quality of students’ involvement in initiating and carrying out learning activities. Students who are engaged, show sustained behavioural involvement in learning activities accompanied by a positive emotional tone; select tasks at the border of their competencies; initiate action when given the opportunity; exert intense effort and concentration in the implementation of learning tasks; and show generally positive emotions during ongoing action including enthusiasm, optimism, curiosity and interest (Skinner & Belmont, 1993). They learn at high levels and have a profound grasp of what they learn; retain what they learn and can transfer what they learn to new contexts.

Engagement initially had two components: A behavioural component (positive conduct, effort, participation) and an emotional or affective component(interest, identification, belonging, positive attitude about learning) (Finn,1989; Marks,2000; Newmann, Wehlage & Lamborn, 1992; Willms, 2003) but a tripartite conceptualization from more recent reviews includes a cognitive component (self regulation, learning goals, investment in learning) (Fredericks, Blumenfeld & Paris, 2004; Jimerson, Campos & Greif, 2003) which was consistent with theories proposing fundamental needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness.

Connell and Wellborn (1991) posit that these theories proposed action (engagement versus disaffection) and outcome differences resulting from interactions within the social context that determined how well the student perceived the environment to meet his/her fundamental needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness. A simple model of this process (adapted from Skinner, Wellborn & Connell, 1990) would be CONTEXT → SELF→ ACTION → OUTCOME. In addition to the two and three component models, engagement taxonomy of four subtypes was proposed by researchers: academic, behavioral, cognitive, and psychological (Reschly & Christenson, 2006, 2006). This taxonomy integrates the theoretical work of Finn (1989), Connell (1990), Connell and Wellborn (1991) and McPartland (1994) and the implementation of the Check & Connect intervention model (http://ici.umn.edu/checkandconnect/) over 13 years. It purports to provide understanding of student levels of engagement and to recognize the goodness of fit between the student, the learning environment, and the factors that influence their fit (Reschly & Christenson, 2006).

Furthermore, academic engagement consists of three subscales namely: Behavioural, emotional and cognitive. Behavioral engagement according to Hughes, Luo, Kwok and Loyd (2008) is “involvement in academic and social or extra-curricular activities”. It also has three components: (a) Behavior related to learning such as “effort persistence, concentration, attention, asking questions, and contributions during class discussions” (b) Compliance, shown in abiding by school rules and regulations, as well as misbehaviour such as; cutting class, frequent absences. (c) Participation in extracurricular activities.

Emotional Engagement involves the “positive and negative reactions of people and activities at school; student’s feelings about school; the degree to which they care about their school; belongingness, safety, comfort and pride in the institution; relationships with teachers and peers” (Hughes, Luo, Kwok & Loyd, 2008).

Cognitive Engagement is associated with how much the student invests in his education and how much he motivates himself. It also includes the significance of academics to the student as well as getting good grades and the ability to finish tasks and go beyond expectation”. (Sciarra & Seirup, 2008). There are five levels of students’ academic engagement which includes;

Following Routine: A student’s attendance and punctuality is the cornerstone of engagement which earns him/her a simple level of respect in education. When assignments are given to challenge students and gauge their level of understanding of the course materials, it can also be an excellent way to monitor and assess the students’ extent of commitment.

Active Listening: Active listening on the part of both students and educators is one of the basic and noticeable levels of student engagement, and can be expressed through physical manifestations, such as straight posture, eye contact focused on the current speaker, note-taking and the occasional sign of call-and-response such as a nod of the head or laughter at a humorous point in a discussion. The less tangible aspects of active listening take place within the individual such as; being respectfully silent, listening to what is being said while attempting to remove personal bias, seeking to understand before jumping to conclusions and sometimes pointing out questions or rephrasing what the speaker has just said at times  for appropriate discussion.

Discussion and Participation: During times of discussion or action, students show that they listened to the already shared information and can take on roles within projects or create individual projects that reflect comprehensive understanding of the materials presented. Hence, a student’s willingness to actively participate in discussion or projects is a strong sign of engagement; and also open-ended discussions, relevant materials and projects that involve a choice of topics or methods can inspire greater engagement in students.

Taking Action:  All these areas (team sports, music groups, artistic endeavors that support the school, participation in club and discussion at school meetings) are intrinsically linked to each student’s educational environment and indicate a student’s dedication to and willingness or passion to be a part of the school outside the basic academic level. These connections help strengthen a student’s role as learner and participant.

Collaboration: Projects within and outside the classroom environment encourage social skills, including working within a group and utilizing their strengths to accomplish a complex task. For students, (especially adolescents), becoming socially involved in a project within their school and taking responsibility for the role given within that project can be both a sign of engagement as well as encouragement for further action within the academic setting.  Since collaboration can allow leadership roles to surface or allow students to show off their strengths, collaborative projects become a proving ground that can lead to student self-confidence. Parents are thought to be an integral part of the education process,  thus effort made by them at home  in terms of checking homework, reinforcing the importance of school, and stressing the importance of academic achievement is ultimately very important to their children’s academic achievement.

Education takes place within a context of interactions between several social groups, such as family, community, nation, culture and the education system in each country. Family being the initial and basic human group in which the child is born, has been traditionally considered the most influential and most important factor for children’s upbringing and education mostly during infancy and childhood. Parental education has to do with the educational attainment of parents. Parents play a crucial role in nurturing their children’s educational aspirations; and according to educators, school management as well as politicians, parents’ involvement and interest in the child’s education are considered  to be a key factor to success in school.

Grissmer (2003) asserted that parents’ level of education is the most important factor affecting students’ academic achievement. Also Taiwo (1993) submits that parents’ educational background influence the academic achievement of students; and according to him, parents would be in a good position to be second teachers to the child; guide and counsel the child on the best way to perform well in education and provide the necessary materials needed by him/her. This builds a sense of academic seriousness into the child which determines the extent of his engagement in academics later in life. This was supported by Musgrave (2000) who said that a child that comes from an educated home would like to follow the steps of his/her family and by this, work actively in his/her studies. He further said that parents who have more than a minimum level of education are expected to have a favoured attitude to the child’s education and to encourage and help him/her with school work; as well as provide library facilities to encourage the child to show examples in activities of intellectual type such as reading of newspapers, magazines and journals.

Onocha (1985) concludes that a child from a well educated family with high socio-economic status is more likely to perform better than a child from an illiterate family. This is because the child from an educated family has a lot of support such as a decent and good environment for academic work, parental support and guidance, enough textual and academic materials and decent feeding. He or she is likely to be sent to good schools where well seasoned teachers will handle his/her subjects. There is also a direct relationship between parental education and performance on achievement tests, grades, and dropout rates (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977; Feliciano, 2006; Jencks, 1972; Madaus & Clarke, 1998).

Parents with higher educational levels are better able to provide the types of resources that would place their children at an advantage over children whose parents have lower levels of education. These resources include providing more literacy opportunities, communicating with more sophisticated vocabularies, providing access to computers, actively scaffolding homework assignments, providing private SAT instruction, and accessing college pathway knowledge and other academic supports (Suárez-Orozco & Suárez-Orozco, 2001).

Consistent with the theoretical model guiding the study, parents’ educational level and family income also demonstrated statistically significant indirect effects on later educational attainment through their associations with growth trajectories for supportive parenting, sibling relations, and student academic engagement. Supportive parenting and sibling relations were linked to later educational attainment through their association with student academic engagement. Academic engagement during adolescence was associated with educational attainment in young adulthood.

Parents play a vital role in their children’s literacy development and this continues when they enter school because these students tend to maintain the engagement level even in the university.  Parents also influence the development of self-efficacy and provide observational models that guide adolescents’ adjustment of their self-efficacy. Thus, when adolescents are encouraged and affirmed of their capability, they are more likely to experience less self-doubt, exercise greater effort and persist when facing difficulties.

Self-efficacy is defined as people’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance which exercise influence over events that affect their lives. Self-efficacy beliefs determine how people feel, think, motivate themselves and behave through cognitive, motivational, affective and selection processes. Students’ belief in their capabilities to master academic activities affects their aspirations, their level of interest in academic activities, and their academic accomplishments. Academic self-efficacy is an individual’s self evaluation of his/her capability and/or chances for success in the academic settings (Robbins, Lauver, Davis, Langley & Carlstrom, 2004). A person with a high self-efficacy will attribute the failure to external factors, where a person with low self-efficacy will attribute failure to low ability. For example; a person with high self-efficacy in regards to mathematics may attribute a poor result to a harder than usual test, feeling sick, lack of effort or insufficient preparation. A person with a low self-efficacy will attribute the result to poor ability in mathematics.

Academic self-efficacy refers to a student’s belief that he or she can successfully engage in and complete course-specific academic tasks, such as accomplishing course outcomes, demonstrating competency skills used in the course, satisfactorily completing assignments, passing the course, and meeting the requirements to continue in his or her major. According to Bandura, and Cervone, D. (1983) an individual’s self-efficacy plays a major role in how goals, tasks, and challenges are approached.  However, a strong sense of efficacy enhances human accomplishment and personal well-being thus, people with high assurance in their capabilities approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided thereby fostering intrinsic interest and deep engrossment in activities. They also set challenging goals for themselves and maintain strong commitment to them; heighten and sustain their efforts in the face of failure; quickly recover their sense of efficacy after failures or setbacks; attribute failure to insufficient effort or deficiency in acquirable knowledge and skills; and approach threatening situations with assurance of their exercise of control over them. All these produce personal accomplishments, reduce stress and lowers vulnerability to depression.  On the other hand, people doubting their capabilities shy away from difficult tasks which they view as personal threats; have low aspirations as well as weak commitment to the goals they choose to pursue; and when faced with difficult tasks, they dwell on their personal deficiencies, on the obstacles they will encounter, and all kinds of adverse outcomes instead of concentrating on how to succeed. They also give up quickly in the face of difficulties; are slow in recovering their sense of efficacy after failure or setbacks and are easily prone to stress and depression. According to Bandura (1997) self-efficacy refers to the beliefs about one’s capabilities to learn or perform behaviors at designated levels. A strong sense of efficacy is most effectively created through mastery experiences.

Moreover, successes build a robust belief in one’s personal efficacy but failures undermine it, especially failures that occurred before a sense of efficacy is firmly established. A resilient sense of efficacy therefore requires experience in overcoming obstacles through perseverant effort. Some setbacks and difficulties in human pursuits serve a useful purpose in teaching that success usually requires sustained effort. For instance, if people experience only easy successes, they expect quick results and are easily discouraged by failure. However, some setbacks and difficulties in human pursuits teach us that success usually requires sustained effort and that people who persevere in the face of adversity, emerge stronger.

Self-efficacy beliefs is also created and strengthened through vicarious experiences provided by social models. Thus, the impact of modeling on perceived self-efficacy is strongly influenced by perceived similarity to the models; and the greater the assumed similarity, the more persuasive are the successes and failures of models. For instance, if people similar to oneself are seen by observer as succeeding by sustained effort, it raises observers’ beliefs of their capabilities to master comparable activities but if  models are seen by observers as very different from themselves, their perceived self-efficacy will not much be influenced by the models’ behavior and its results.  People seek proficient models who possess the competencies to which they aspire, so that through their behavior and expressed ways of thinking, knowledge can be transmitted from competent models to observers and effective skills and strategies for managing environmental demands taught them in order to raise their perceived self-efficacy.

Social persuasion strengthens people’s beliefs that they possess what it takes to succeed. When people are verbally persuaded that they possess the capabilities to master given tasks, they are likely to mobilize greater effort and sustain it than persons with self-doubts and personal deficiencies when problems arise. Hence, the extent of their effort to succeed, promotes development of skills and a sense of personal efficacy. Reduction of people’s stress reactions, alteration of their negative emotional proclivities and misinterpretations of their physical states is another way of modifying efficacy self beliefs. Thus, people with a high sense of efficacy are likely to view their state of affective arousal as an energizing facilitator of performance whereas those with self doubts regard their arousal as a debilitator.

Furthermore, Self-beliefs of efficacy play a key role in the self-regulation of motivation. People motivate themselves and guide their actions  by forming beliefs about what they can do; anticipating  likely outcomes of prospective actions, setting  goals for themselves and planning courses of action to  realize valued future. Self efficacy beliefs influence causal attributions which in turn affects motivation, performance and affective reactions. For instance, people who regard themselves as highly efficacious, attribute their failures to insufficient effort while those who regard themselves as inefficacious attribute their failures to low ability. Perceived self efficacy reflects an optimistic self belief (Schwarzer, 1992), which is the belief that one can perform difficult tasks or cope with adversity in various domains of human functioning and it facilitates goal-setting, effort investment, persistence in face of barriers and recovery from setbacks.

Bandura (1982) defines perceived self efficacy as” judgments of how well one can execute courses of action required to deal with prospective situations”. Eccles and Wigfield (2002) elaborated Bandura’s description by defining self efficacy as an individual’s confidence in his or her “ability to organize and execute a given course of action, to solve a problem or accomplish a task”. Self efficacy has also been associated with the use of cognitive strategies hence; self efficacy perceptions predict achievement over and above actual ability levels   ( Pintrich & DeGroot, 1990). Motivation is a term frequently used synonymously for engagement although it is a construct that describes what compels learners to invest time and effort. It is described in terms of “conditions and processes that account for the arousal, direction, magnitude, and maintenance of effort” (Katzell & Thompson, 1990). Therefore to explore motivation, there is need to understand what sits behind the engagement of students and what teachers can do to enhance this engagement.  However, motivation is more complex to unravel than engagement because it is internalized and can be inferred only through the mediating overt behavior of engagement.

Motivation is the basic drive or the driving force behind all individual actions. It refers to the dynamics of our behavior which involves our needs, desires and ambitions in life. Thus, the influence of an individual’s needs and desires has strong impact on the direction of their behavior. Motivation, also referred to as academic engagement, refers to “cognitive, emotional, and behavioral indicators of student investment in and attachment to education” (Tucker, Zayco, & Herman, 2002). According to Guay, Chanal, Ratelle, Marsh, Larose & Boivin, (2010) motivation refers to “the reasons underlying behavior”. These reasons therefore, involve a constellation of closely related beliefs, perceptions, values, interests, and actions; and are also based on emotions and achievement-related goals. However, motivation within individuals tends to vary across subject areas whose domain specificity increases with age hence, motivation in children predicts motivation in later life and the stability of this relationship strengthens with age. Motivation can be intrinsic, extrinsic, physiological, negative, achievement etc. Intrinsic motivation is animated by personal enjoyment, interest or pleasure and according to Deci, Koestner & Ryan, (1999); it energizes and sustains activities through the spontaneous satisfactions inherent in effective volitional action. It manifests in such behaviors as play, exploration, and challenge seeking which people often do for external rewards. Extrinsic motivation is governed by reinforcement contingencies. Negative motivation includes students’ indifference and unpreparedness, which are often motivated behaviors, active attempts to salvage a sense of worth when the likelihood of failure is overwhelming (Brophy, 1983; Covington, 1984, 1992; Dweck & Pempechat, 1983; Rosenholtz & Simpson, 1984; Stipek, 1984).

In other words, Achievement motivation is a construct which refers to the desire to do well in order to attain an inner feeling of personal accomplishment (McCelland, 1987). It is based on reaching success and achieving all life aspirations thus, achievement goals can affect the way a person performs a task and represent a desire to show competence (Harackiewicz, Barron, Carter, Lehto & Elliot, 1997). Our achievement motives however can range from biological needs to the satisfaction of creative desires or realization of success in competitive ventures and also includes the need for achievement and the fear of failure.

All of our behaviors, actions, thoughts, and beliefs are influenced by our inner drive to succeed. Achievement-motivated individuals set goals which they can influence with their effort and ability, and as such the goal is considered to be achievable, hence they are great risk takers.  Monte and Lifrieri (1973), states that students who accomplish little in class may have the desire to achieve and the ability to accomplish the task, but may feel that the accomplishment has little or no value and that doing it, is not worth the effort or time. Others may fear that they are incapable of completing the required task and so do not even begin. They also feel that to receive a lower overall grade is better than to prove their inability to correctly complete the task. Therefore, achievement motivation is a non-conscious process in which decision how to act or not to act is made (Atkinson & Feather, 1966).

Academic motivation Gottfried (1990) is defined as “enjoyment of school learning characterized by a mastery orientation; curiosity; persistence; task-endogeny; and the learning of challenging, difficult, and novel tasks. It is also defined as academic drive (a measure of work habits and scholastic expectations); attitudes towards school and learning (students’ opinion of the classroom environment and self-efficacy in learning) (Entwistle, 1968) and enthusiasm for academic achievement (the degree to which students possessed certain specific behavioral characteristics related to motivation) (Hwang, 2002). There are three generic motivational factors that influence outcome attainment and they include: (i) Attitude or belief about ones capability to attain the outcome. The attitude used in conjunction with motivation to achieve is self-efficacy or how capable people judge themselves to be, to successfully perform a task (Bandura, 1977). Extensive evidence provided by Bandura (1997), posits that self-efficacy is a key factor in the extent to which people can bring about significant outcomes in their lives.

Moreover, considerable evidence supports the fact that self-efficacy beliefs contribute to academic achievement by enhancing the motivation to achieve. Schunk (1989) has shown in a number of studies that individuals with the same level of intellectual capability differ in performance because of their self-efficacy level. (ii) Drive or the desire to attain an outcome based on the value people place on it. One potential source of drive to perform is the incentive value of the performance.  For example, a situation where a person is required to perform, he or she may expend considerable effort in preparation because of the mediation provided by the desire to achieve success or avoid failure. Hence that desire would be said to provide incentive motivation for the person to expend the effort. (iii) Strategy or the techniques people employ to gain the outcomes they desire. Strategies that have been shown to have a particular impact on achievement (Zimmerman, 1989) are self-observing, self-judging, and self-reacting (goal setting, planning), and more recently, self-evaluation and monitoring; goal setting and strategic planning; strategy implementation and monitoring; and strategic outcome monitoring (Zimmerman, 1998).

Motivation is central to the understanding of engagement and is viewed in terms of direction, intensity and quality of one’s energies (Maehr & Meyer, 1997) answering the question of “why am I doing this?” for a given behavior; hence, it is related to underlying psychological processes including autonomy (Grolnick & Ryan, 1987; Skinner, Wellborn & Connell, 1990), relatedness/belonging( Goodenow, 1993, 1993; Goodenow & Grady,1993) and competence (Schunk,1991). Engagement reflects a person’s active involvement in a task or activity (Reeve, Jang, Carrell, Jeon & Barch, 2004). For instance, motivational aspects of a reading task includes: perceived reading competency; perceived value of reading in order to obtain larger goals (better grades, parent/teacher praise); and perceived ability to succeed at the reading task (Guthrie & Wigfield, 2000) while engagement aspects includes the number of words read or the amount of text  comprehended with deeper processing of the content.

Thus, Motivation and Engagement are separate but not orthogonal – one could be motivated but not actively engaged in a task (Connell & Wellborn, 1991; Furrer & Skinner, 2003). Efficacy beliefs also play a meditational role in academic attainment especially between instructional or induced -strategy treatments and academic outcomes. In addition to attention to classroom relationships and thoughtful, intentional designs of learning, teaching practices (clear learning targets, exemplars, assessment criteria, descriptive feedback, self assessment, peer assessment) have a powerful effect upon student engagement. Educational research has also revealed that motivation is a precursor to engagement.  Engagement requires a self-determined commitment to learning.  Commitment to think deeply and critically; to grapple with ideas, and to make connections in information, happens when motivation is intrinsic and also a strong belief in ones’ capabilities can enhance students’ level of commitment in academics.

 

 

Statement of the Problem

Over the last twenty years; perhaps as a result of technology rich upbringing, our students have changed and they appear to have “different” needs, goals, and learning preferences than students had in the past. Hence, there is need to better understand these youth and determine how to best engage them in learning; yet, there is a notable lack of “student voice” or student perspectives in the literature on student engagement. Engagement according to Blumenfeld (2006) is a potentially important construct which is at the crossroads; one in need of conceptual clarity and constancy. It is considered the primary theoretical model for understanding dropout  and is necessary for promoting school completion (graduation from high school) with sufficient academic and social skills for enrollment in the world of work (Christenson, Reschly,  Appleton,  Berman,  Spangers & Varro, 2008 & Finn, 2006). However, as Broussard and Garrison (2004) observed, contemporary motivation research tends to be organized around these questions:  Can I do this task?  Do I want to do this task and why?  What do I have to do to succeed in this task? Today in the academic field, some of these questions should run through peoples’ mind as they embark on any academic pursuit or field of study. In other words, with this in mind, this present study will therefore address the following questions:                                                                                                                               1. Would parental education play a significant role in academic engagement among

Nigerian  undergraduates?

  1. Would self-efficacy play a significant role in academic engagement among Nigerian

undergraduates?

  1. Would achievement motivation play a significant role in academic engagement among

Nigerian undergraduates?

Purpose of the Study

The aim of this research is to find out whether:

  1. Parental education would play a significant role in academic engagement among Nigerian undergraduates.
  2. Self-efficacy would play a significant role in academic engagement among Nigerian undergraduates.
  3. Achievement motivation would play a significant role in academic engagement among Nigerian undergraduates.

Operational definition of terms

Academic Engagement:  This is defined as the extent to which students are committed to their academic work as measured with Utrecht Work Engagement Scale-Student Version (UWES-S) (Schaufeli & Bakker, 2003).

Parental Education: This is defined as the educational attainment of parents.      .

Self-efficacy:  This is defined as peoples beliefs in their capabilities to carry out every of their life tasks and effectively actualize their goals as measured with the New General Self-efficacy Scale (NGSE) (Chen, Gully & Eden, 2000).

Achievement Motivation:  This is defined as the desire to attain success and achieve all life aspirations as measured with the Nigerian Adaptation of Herman’s Questionnaire Measure of Achievement Motivation (Eyo, 1986).

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