Capitalism in the classroom : the impact of self-enhancement values and normative assessment on student motivation, goals and attitudes towards cheating


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PhD thesis: a PhD thesis.
Capitalism in the classroom : the impact of self-enhancement values and normative assessment on student motivation, goals and attitudes towards cheating
Pulfrey C. J.
Butera F.
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté des sciences sociales et politiques
Faculté des sciences sociales et politiques (SSP) Université de Lausanne UNIL - Dorigny Anthropole - bureau 2125 CH-1015 Lausanne SUISSE
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The neo-liberal capitalist ideology has come under heavy fire with anecdotal evidence indicating a link between these same values and unethical behavior. Academic institutions reflect social values and act as socializing agents for the young. Can this explain the high and increasing rates of cheating that currently prevail in education? Our first chapter examines the question of whether self-enhancement values of power and açhievement, the individual level equivalent of neo-liberal capitalist values, predict positive attitudes towards cheating. Furthermore, we explore the mediating role of motivational factors. Results of four studies reveal that self-enhancement value endorsement predicts the adoption of performance-approach goals, a relationship mediated by introjected regulation, namely desire for social approval and that self-enhancement value endorsement also predicts the condoning of cheating, a relationship mediated by performance-approach goal adoption. However, self-transcendence values prescribed by a normatively salient source have the potential to reduce the link between self-enhancement value endorsément and attitudes towards cheating.
Normative assessment constitutes a key tool used by academic institutions to socialize young people to accept the competitive, meritocratic nature of a sociéty driven by a neo-liberal capitalist ideology. As such, the manifest function of grades is to motivate students to work hard and to buy into the competing ethos. Does normative assessment fulfill these functions? Our second chapter explores the reward-intrinsic motivation question in the context of grading, arguably a high-stakes reward. In two experiments, the relative capacity of graded high performance as compared to the task autonomy experienced in an ungraded task to predict post-task intrinsic motivation is assessed. Results show that whilst the graded task performance predicts post-task appreciation, it fails to predict ongoing motivation. However, perceived autonomy experienced in non-graded condition, predicts both post-task appreciation and ongoing motivation. Our third chapter asks whether normative assessment inspires the spirit of competition in students. Results of three experimental studies reveal that expectation of a grade for a task, compared to no grade, induces greater adoption of performance-avoidance, but not performance-approach, goals. Experiment 3 provides an explanatory mechanism for this, showing that reduced autonomous motivation experienced in previous graded tasks mediates the relationship between grading and adoption of performance avoidance goals in a subsequent task.
The above results, when combined, provide evidence as to the deleterious effects of self enhancement values and the associated practice of normative assessment in school on student motivation, goals and ethics. We conclude by using value and motivation theory to explore solutions to this problem.
Values, self-determination, achievement goals, cheating, grades.
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30/09/2010 11:01
Last modification date
20/08/2019 14:06
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