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External Evaluation, Task Difficulty, and Continuing Motivation

Billie Hughes, Howard J. Sullivan and Mary Lou Mosley
The Journal of Educational Research
Vol. 78, No. 4 (Mar. - Apr., 1985), pp. 210-215
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27540123
Page Count: 6
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External Evaluation, Task Difficulty, and Continuing Motivation
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Abstract

Two-hundred fifty (250) fifth graders participated in this study of the effects of evaluation condition and task difficulty on motivation to return to an initial task. Two levels of difficulty (hard, easy) on the task were crossed with two levels of evaluation (teacher, self). Continuing motivation was measured both immediately after the initial task and two weeks later. Significant differences were obtained only on the immediate measure. The proportion of subjects returning to task was significantly higher under the easy version (.55) of the initial task than under the hard version (.40). This difference was due almost entirely to a much lower return rate under the hard task and teacher evaluation (.27) than under any other combination of conditions. Significant between-school differences were interpreted as indicating a consistent motivational effect related to reported expectations for achievement within each school. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for classroom practice.

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