Designing a Causal Model for Fostering Academic Engagement and Verification of its Effect on Educational Performance

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Educational Psychology, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran

2 English Department, Refah Humanitarian College & University, Tehran, Iran


Academic engagement explains the extent to which learners identify with and value academic conclusions, and take part in academic and non-academic activities. The present study explores, quantitatively, a causal model of both psycho-social and motivational factors in academic engagement and their potential impacts on academic achievement outcome. The sample of this research consisted of 480 undergraduate students at Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran who were selected by stratified random sampling method. The instruments which used in this study were The Academic Success Inventory, Boekaerts’ Motivation control scale (1987), Kuhl's Action Control scale (ACS-90) (1994), Pintrich et al.'s Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) (1991), Schraw & Dennison's Metacognitive awareness inventory (MAI) (1994), Boekaerts' Intended/actual goals scale (1987), Zimbardo & Boyd's future time perception inventory (ZPTI) (1999), & Schaufeli, et al’s Academic Engagement scale (2002). Structural equation modeling (SEM) through AMOS-22 was used for data analysis. The results indicated that motivational control–emotional states & competencies, self-efficacy, metacognition, action control–initiative persistence & disengage persistence- had significant effects on academic engagement. Also academic engagement can affect academic performance mediating by learner's intended/actual goals and future time perception in the current model. There is credence then, from our point of view, that policymakers and educators should consider advancing conceptualized complex psychosocial-motivational models to verify.


Appleton, J. J., Christenson, S. L., & Furlong, M. J. (2008). Student engagement with school: Critical conceptual and methodological issues of the construct. Psychology in the Schools, 45, 369-386.
Artz, A. F., & Armour-Thomas, E. (1992). Development of a cognitive-metacognitive framework for protocol analysis of mathematical problem solving in small groups. Cognition and Instruction, 9(2), 137-175.
Astin, A. W. (1984). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Personnel, 25(4), 297-308.
Boekaerts, M. (1987). Individual differences in the appraisal of learning tasks: An integrative view on emotion and cognition. Communication & Cognition, 20(2l3), 207-224.
Boekaerts, M. (1994). Action control: How relevant is it for classroom learning. Volition and Personality: Action Versus State Orientation, 427-435.
Boekaerts, M. (1994). Anger in relation to school learning. Learning and Instruction, 3(4), 269-280.
Boekaerts, M. (1996). Self-regulated learning at the junction of cognition and motivation. European Psychologist, 1(2), 100-112.
Carini, R. M., Kuh, G. D., & Klein, S. P. (2006). Student engagement and student learning: Testing the linkages. Research in Higher Education, 47(1), 1-32.
Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin.
Csikszentmihalyi, M., (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper & Row.
Elliot, A. J., Dweck, C. S., & Yeager, D. S. (Eds.). (2017). Handbook of Competence and Motivation: Theory and Application. Guilford Publications.
Fenollar, P., Román, S., & Cuestas, P. J. (2007). University students' academic performance: An integrative conceptual framework and empirical analysis. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 77(4), 873-891.
Festa-Dreher, D. (2012). The academic success inventory for college students: An item Response Theory Analysis. The Florida State University.
Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). School engagement: Potential of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research 74(1), 59-109.
Goodenow, C., & Grady, K. E. (1993). The relationship of school belonging and friends' values to academic motivation among urban adolescent students. The Journal of Experimental Education, 62(1), 60-71.
Goodnow, C. (1992). Strengthening the links between educational psychology and the study of social contexts. Educational Psychologist, 27(2), 177-196.
Horstmanshof, L., & Zimitat, C. (2007). Future time orientation predicts academic engagement among first‐year university students. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 77(3), 703-718.
Jimerson, S. R., Renshaw, T. L., Stewart, K., Hart, S., & O’Malley, M. (2009). Promoting school completion through understanding school failure: A multi-factorial model of dropping out as a developmental process. Romanian Journal of School Psychology, 2, 12-29.
Kliegl, R., & Philipp, D. (2002). Cognitive Plasticity Assessment. In R. Fernandez-Ballesteros (Ed.), Encyclopedia of psychological assessment. (pp. 234-237) London: Sage Publications.
Knight, S., Shum, S. B., & Littleton, K. (2014). Epistemology, assessment, pedagogy: where learning meets analytics in the middle space. Journal of Learning Analytics, 1(2), 23-47.
Kuh, G. D. (2009). What student affairs professionals need to know about student engagement? Journal of College Student Development, 50(6), 683-706.
Kuhl, J. (1994). Action versus State orientation: Psychometric properties of the Action Control Scale (ACS-90). In J. Kuhl, & J. Beckmann (Eds.), Volition and Personality: Action Versus State Orientation (pp. 47-59). Bern: Hogrefe and Huber Publishers.
Kline, R. B. (2011). Principles and practice of structural equation modelling. (3rd. Ed.) New York: Guilford Press. Part 1: Concepts and Tools. Chapters 1-4.
Kyllonen, P. C., Walters, A. M. & Kaufman, J. C. (2011). The Role of Noncognitive Constructs and Other Background Variables in Graduate Education. ETS Research Report Series, 1–133.
Lavasani, M. G., Malahmadi, E., & Amani, J. (2010). The role of self-efficacy, task value, and achievement goals in predicting learning approaches and mathematics achievement. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 5, 942-947.
Pace, C. R. (1980). Measuring the quality of student effort. Current Issues in Higher Education, 2, 10 - 16.
Pekrun, R., Lichtenfeld, S., Marsh, H. W., Murayama, K. & Goetz, T. (2017), Achievement Emotions and Academic Performance: Longitudinal Models of Reciprocal Effects. Child Development. doi:10.1111/cdev.12704.
Phan, H. P. (2014). Situating psychosocial and motivational factors in learning contexts. Education, 4(3), 53-66.
Pintrich, P. R., Smith, D., Garcia, T., & McKeachie, W. J. (1991). A Manual for the Use of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). National Center for Research to Improve Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich, USA.
Prevatt, F., Li, H., Welles, T., Festa-Dreher, D., Yelland, S., & Lee, J. (2011). The Academic Success Inventory for College Students: Scale development and practical implications for use with students. Journal of College Admission, 211, 26-31.
Schaufeli, W. B., Salanova, M., González-Romá, V., & Bakker, A. B. (2002). The measurement of engagement and burnout: A two sample confirmatory factor analytic approach. Journal of Happiness Studies, 3(1), 71-92.
Schraw, G., & Dennison, R. S. (1994). Assessing metacognitive awareness. Contemporary educational psychology, 19(4), 460-475.
Schunk, D. H. (1991). Self-efficacy and academic motivation. Educational psychologist, 26(3-4), 207-231.
Schreiber, B., & Yu, D. (2016). Exploring student engagegment practises at a South African university: Student engagement as reliable predictor of academic performance. SAJHE, 30(5), 157-175.
Shernoff, D. J., & Schmidt, J. A. (2008). Further evidence of an engagement-achievement paradox among U.S. high school students. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 37(5), 564-580.
Shum, S. B., & Crick, R. D. (2012). Learning dispositions and transferable competencies: pedagogy, modelling and learning analytics. In Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, 92-101, ACM.
Simons, J., Vansteenkiste, M., Lens, W., & Lacante, M. (2004). Placing motivation and future time perception theory in a temporal perception. Educational Psychology Review, 16(2), 121–139.
Strydom, F. (2014). Using SASSE data to improve student success on a national scale. In Inyathelo Kresge Access and Success Seminar, Cape Town.
Suárez-Orozco, C., Pimentel, A., & Martin, M. (2009). The significance of relationships: Academic engagement and achievement among newcomer immigrant youth. Teachers College Record, 111(3), 712-749.
Tinto, V. (1987). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. University of Chicago Press, 5801 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637.
Trowler, V. (2010). Student engagement literature review. The Higher Education Academy, 11, 1-15.
Vancouver, J. B., & Kendall, L. N. (2006). When self-efficacy negatively relates to motivation and performance in a learning context. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(5), 1146.
Volet, S. E. (1997). Cognitive and affective variables in academic learning: The significance of direction and effort in students' goals. Learning and Instruction, 7(3), 235-254.
Walker, A., Bush, A., Sanchagrin, K., & Holland, J. (2017). We've got to keep meeting like this: A Pilot Study Comparing Academic Performance in Shifting-Membership Cooperative Groups Versus Stable-Membership Cooperative Groups in an Introductory-Level Lab. College Teaching, 65(1), 9-16.
Walker, C. O., Greene, B. A., & Mansell, R. A. (2006). Identification with academics, intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, and self-efficacy as predictors of cognitive engagement. Learning and Individual Differences, 16, 1-12.
Willms, J. D. (2003). Student engagement at school. A sense of belonging and participation. Paris: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Zimbardo, P. G., & Boyd, J. N. (1999). Putting time in perception: A valid, reliable individual-differences metric. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 77(6), 1271-128.