Welcome
  Abstract
  Introduction
  Methods
     Participants
     Materials
     Procedure
Results
  SRQA scores
  MSLQ scores
  Discussion
  Conclusion
  Selected References
  Tables
    Table 1
    Table 2
  Relevant Links

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Effects of academic tracking on high 
school students' achievement motivation

by: Johanna Dymek

Welcome

    Thank you for visiting my site. This project was completed as a senior research project for Saint Anselm College.  Any questions or comments may be directed to me at the email address listed to the left.

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Abstract
     This study examines the relationship between academic tracking and achievement motivation in high school students.  The study of achievement motivation is essential to understanding how students are motivated to act whether to avoid failure or to succeed.  Academic tracking in high schools is a highly debated issue and any fundamental differences between the tracked students in regards to achievement motivation may play a role in the future of tracking.  Many different factors influence achievement motivation.  For this study, intrinsic, extrinsic, and control factors of motivation are mainly examined among fifty-five high school students from a moderately large public high school in New England.  Two self-report questionnaires, the Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire (Ryan & Connell, 1989) and the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (Pintrich, Smith, Garcia, & McKeachie, 1991) were administered looking at nine different sub-scales.  The results were analyzed using a univariate analysis of variance (ANOVA) for each sub-scale.  Statistical significance was reported for gender on the control sub-scale of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire.  Future research is needed to further analyze the relationship between academic tracking and achievement motivation.  Results have the potential to influence the educational world by helping teachers to better serve the motivational needs of their students. 

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Introduction
    Students' abilities to learn have both internal and external factors of origin.  In addition to internal biological factors associated with learning, the external circumstances surrounding each individual's life mediates the manner in which he or she learns.  Specifically, the student's family life, peer relationships, school settings, and most importantly teacher perceptions and self-perceptions will affect the way in which a student is motivated to learn. The "school setting" encompasses several aspects of a student's educational experience.  Teacher perceptions are of great importance, as a student will respond to the way in which a teacher perceives him.  Rosenthal & Jacobsen (1968) found that teacher expectancies led to a self-fulfilling prophesy in which the manner in which teachers treated their students, more pleasant and encouraging, led to improvements of intellectual performance.  The opposite is likely true as well, teachers who do not go out of their way to treat students in a positive manner will not see the same intellectual advances.  Schools track students according to perceived ability and past performance.  This may impact perceptions by teachers. 
     Tracking is an educational trend common to most schools in America and is thought of as an attempt to better serve all of the students in a particular school.  The program seeks to group students according to perceived ability levels, and past performances. Most often schools use a three-track system in which students are placed on the college/high, general/medium, or vocational/low track (Broussard & Joseph 1998).  In theory, teachers can then develop a more appropriate curriculum for the students according to the pace at which each group learns (Khmelkov & Hallinan, 1999). However, this grouping may have serious implications on student learning.  The present research will seek to address this issue. 
     In addition to external factors associated with learning, such as tracking, motivation is critical to how well a student will perform in his or her classes.  Achievement motivation can be defined as the motive to succeed, or the motive to avoid failure (Haguen & Lund, 2000).  It is essential to explore the degree to which placing students on academic tracks affects their achievement motivation.  Achievement motivation is a factor vital to one's academic achievement.  The drive that encourages one to pursue his or her goals can be examined in relation to tracking.
    Tracking may not serve the purpose for which it was intended.  The intent was to foster environments in which students could thrive, but the concept may fail to meet standards for students on the lower academic tracks.  The populations of the tracks are highly disproportionate, as mentioned before, and leave children of low SES few opportunities for advancing out of the vocational/low track.  It is highly unlikely that students will move upward out of a group (Broussard & Joseph, 1998). Rather than meeting the needs of individual students, tracking often proves to place fewer demands on students of lower tracks and as a result they exhibit "progressive retardation as they progress through school" (Crosby & Owens, 1993). 
     Since it tends to be very difficult to remove oneself from a track, in many tracked schools students’ self-concepts and self-esteem suffer as a result of being placed on certain tracks.  Students tend to compare themselves with those around them.  Therefore, high achievers placed in untracked classes will stand out.  However, when grouped by ability, they no longer stand out which may cause a decrease in self-esteem and self-concept.  Higher tracked students were seen to suffer from lower self-esteem, as they perceive themselves as less adequate when grouped with other high achievers (Kemp & Watkins, 1996).  These two factors may relate to the achievement motivation of academically tracked students.
     Children and adolescents are highly susceptible to social cues.  In addition to reading cues from the students around them, students pick up cues from their teachers.  This is essential for study, as students tend to adopt the teacher’s perception of himself or herself, whether or not it is appropriate (Broussard & Joseph, 1998).  Teachers who are more emotionally attached to students provide a more solid connection to the school and greater support for student autonomy (Ryan & Stiller, 1994).  Students who do not receive this type of support may suffer in areas of self-worth and self-esteem.  Tracking can also be implemented in these findings as some teachers treat students on different tracks with more or less autonomous support (Kozol, 1991). 
     Recently the effectiveness of tracking has been investigated by  Carbone (2000) and  Wiest, Wong, & Kreil (1998), amonst others.   Wiest, Wong, & Kreil (1998) conducted a study seeking to determine the predictors of global self-worth in students who had been tracked.  The three tracks they looked at were regular education, learning disabled, and continuing education.  Although not the general tracks found in most secondary schools, Wiest, Wong & Kreil (1998) found these to be the most effective for their purposes.  They sought to discover the degree to which perceived autonomy, control, and competence would predict global self-worth and academic achievement.  Their findings suggest that perceived control was significantly related to a student's self-worth.  The more control and autonomy a student feels the greater the self worth and academic achievement he or she experiences.  Likewise, students on the learning disabled track were less likely to record high scores on the Perceived Competence Scale for Children and were more likely to report lower grade point averages and lower self-worth.  Wiest, Wong, & Kreil (1998) support the notion that placement on a track has the potential to cause detrimental effects to one's learning abilities. 
    The results of a study by Carbone (2000) provide results consistent with those found in Wiest, Wong, & Kreil (1998).  Carbone’s approach to academic tracking was slightly different than Wiest, Wong, & Kreil by looking at attributional style rather than the perceived autonomy, control and competency factors of achievement motivation.   She hypothesized that students placed on higher tracks would have more positive attributional styles (internal, stable, global) whereas students on lower tracks would tend to have more negative attributional styles (external, personal, unstable) (Nathawat, Singh, & Singh, 1997).  Carbone studied eighty high school juniors who were all on one of four tracks (four being the highest track and one being the lowest).  Students from the lower tracks were more likely to have a negative attributional style than students on the highest track.  While results were not statistically significant, they were directionally related as she had predicted.  Consistent with Wiest, Wong, & Kriel's (1998) study, it can be said that students placed on lower academic tracks are more likely to attribute situations negatively, have a negative self-worth, and suffer academically as a result. 
     As Carbone’s (2000) study showed, the need for achievement is closely related to attributional theory.  Achievement motivation is often measured by the way in which one responds to and takes credit for accomplishments.  Achievement motivation is not clearly defined as one direct factor, rather many factors combine to influence achievement motivation.  The construct includes factors such as: motive to succeed or to avoid failure (Haguen & Lund, 2000); levels of self-esteem and self-concept (Kemp & Watkins, 1996); perceived autonomy, control, and competence (Wiest, Wong, & Kreil, 1998); and perceived locus of control and intrinsic factors (Ryan & Connell, 1989).  Attributions are categorized as either internal, global, stable, or as, external, personal, and unstable (Nathawat, Singh, & Singh, 1997).  The factors of attribution style and achievement, which overlap in relation to locus of control, are interrelated. 
    A study conducted by Nathawat, Singh, & Singh (1997) examined the relationship between need for achievement and students' attribution style.  They hypothesized that participants would have a different attribution style as a result of differing needs for achievement (Nathawat, Singh, & Singh, 1997).  Responses to the Achievement Values and Anxiety Index were analyzed.  The analysis provided support for the hypothesis that participants would attribute negative outcomes to internal, stable, and global factors if they maintained a low need for achievement.  Those participants who demonstrated a high need for achievement were more likely to attribute the results to external causes.  Failure was more accepted by participants who had a low need for achievement whereas those with a high need for achievement were less accepting (Nathawat, Singh, & Singh, 1997). 
    Achievement motivation is, simply, either the desire to avoid consequences or to achieve success (Haguen & Lund, 2000).  When students are placed on academic tracks they are preconceived to be an accelerated student, a normal student, or a slow student.  Since it is highly difficult to move upwards along the tracking system, students accept the stigma that has been applied to them (Broussard & Joseph, 1998). 
    The varied research with regards to academic tracking and achievement motivation suggest that there is a strong relationship between the two constructs.  This study seeks to determine the relationship between students’ achievement motivation and their academic track.  For the purposes of the study, achievement motivation is defined as high scores on intrinsic motivation, intrinsic goal orientation, identified regulation, task value, self efficacy for learning and performance factors, and low scores on external regulation, introjected regulation, and extrinsic goal orientation factors.  These items will be measured through use of the Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire (SRQA) (Ryan & Connell, 1989) and the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) (Pintrich, Smith, Garcia, & McKeachie, 1991).  It is predicted that students placed on lower tracks will be less motivated to achieve, both internally and externally.  Likewise, their successes will more likely be attributed to external, personal, and unstable causes.  Sophomores are predicted to respond in accordance with the lower tracked students and seniors are expected to respond similar to the high track students. 

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Methods
Participants

     Participants for the study were 55 high school students, 23 male and 32 female, from a moderately large public high school in New England.  Students in the school are generally of the lower-middle socioeconomic status. Ethnicity throughout the school is relatively homogenous with few minorities represented; all but two of the participants in the study were White.  Thirty-four sophomores (13 male, 21 female) and twenty-one seniors (10 male, 11 female) were taken from three tracks within the school: 1) the low track, 2) the general academic track, and 3) the high track. Information provided from the school explains that students are placed on academic tracks as a result of past academic performance and perceived ability.  Students do not necessarily have to stay on the same track throughout high school.  However, more often the change occurs in students moving from a higher level class to a lower level class.  It is far less likely that students in this school move to a higher academic track. 
     The Institutional Review Board reviewed all materials before administration.  Before participation in the study, letters of consent were sent home to the students’ parents explaining the nature of the study.  Students were also asked to sign an assent form before participating in the study. 

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Materials

      A brief biographical questionnaire was administered to determine age, gender, and academic track of each student.  
     The Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire (SRQA) was administered to students (Ryan & Connell, 1989).  The questionnaire consists of 32 questions regarding why students do school work.  Responses are recorded on a 4-point Likert scale (1=not at all true, 2=not very true, 3=sort of true, 4=very true).  The four sub-scales of the questionnaire are: external regulation, introjected regulation, identified regulation, and intrinsic motivation.  Sample questions of the SRQA can be found at SRQA.
      The Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) (Pintrich et al., 1991) was also administered.  This questionnaire consists of 81 items answered on a 7 point Likert scale (1=not at all true of me, 7=very true of me).  Thirty-one of the items relate directly to motivation, whereas the other fifty items relate to learning strategies.  The scale consists of nine subscales, though only the five related to motivation were deemed relevant to the present research.  The subscales used for analysis were Intrinsic Goal Orientation, Extrinsic Goal Orientation, Task Value, Control Beliefs, and Self-Efficacy for Learning and Performance. A review of the scales found the reliability and validity to be marginal.  The reliability of the sub-scales ranges in internal consistency from .62- .93 alpha.  The author notes that the reliability is questionable if providing results to individuals, yet since this study is looking only at group data the reliability scores are sufficient (Benson, 1998).  A report of the validity of the scales is included in the manual to the MSLQ.  It shows that the sub-scales are moderately valid according to the validity tests used (Pintrich et al., 1991).    Sample questions of the MSLQ can be found at MSLQ.

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Procedure
    After collecting consent forms that had been returned to teachers, the nature of the study was explained to the participating students.  Participants were told that the title of the study was “Learning Styles and Problem Solving Strategies in the Classroom.”  This alternate title was used to ensure that students’ answers would be unbiased.  Then, students were asked to read and sign a brief assent form.  Questionnaire packets were then distributed which included directions.  These directions were also read aloud for the participants. Students were then asked to complete both questionnaires by answering directly on the forms.  Seven sessions of the testing took place, one for each group of sophomores (low, general, and high track) and four groups of seniors (one each of the low and general tracks, but two sessions were run of the high track due to small group size).  Following the testing period, all forms were collected and the participants were debriefed.
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Results
     From two questionnaires administered, nine sub-scales were analyzed.  The Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire (SRQA) consisted of four sub-scales: Intrinsic Motivation, External Regulation, Introjected Regulation, and Identified Regulation.  The five sub-scales analyzed from the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) were Intrinsic Goal Orientation, Extrinsic Goal Orientation, Task Value, Control Beliefs, and Self-Efficacy for Learning and Performance.  A univariate analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze the results for each sub-scale.  A 3 (high, general, low academic track) X 2 (gender) X 2 (age: sophomore, senior) design was employed for the ANOVAs. 

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SRQA scores

     No significance was found for the Intrinsic Motivation scale of the SRQA.  Although no significance was found for gender X academic track, F (2, 42)= 1.212 p>.05, an interesting difference was noted.  The mean score for males on the low track (M=2.381) was considerably higher than the means of males on the general and high tracks (M=1.839, M=1.857 respectively).  In contrast, high track females scored higher (M=2.252) than the general and low track females (M=2.214, M=1.929 respectively).  The scores for the low track males and high track females are similar.  These results suggest that low track males and high track females may be similar with regards to intrinsic motivation (see  table 1 ). 
     The Extrinsic Goal Orientation scale of the SRQA yielded no significance.   However, age, F (1,43)= 3.540, p> .05, and age X academic track, F (2,43)= 2.662, p> .05, are both approaching significance.  Sophomores scored higher (M=3.222) in extrinsic motivation than the seniors (M=2.850).  This supports the hypothesis that lower track and younger students would be more extrinsically motivated than older, high tracked students would.  However, when students were looked at according to academic track, only the low (Msoph=3.519, Msr=2.630) and high tracks (Msoph=3.211, Msr=2.769) showed this directional change.  The general education track had similar mean scores for both sophomores (M=2.937) and seniors (M=3.153) (see table 1). 
      No significant findings exist for the introjected or identified scales of the SRQA.  Of note, low track males (M=2.685) were considerably lower than low track females (M=3.259) on the introjected scale.  The means of the other groups were too similar for these findings to be notable (see table 1).

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MSLQ scores

     The intrinsic scale of the MSLQ yielded no significant results.  However, it may be noted that the mean scores for the low (M=4.313) and general (M=4.315) tracks were almost identical, whereas the mean score for the high track (M=4.748) was higher.  This suggests that there may be some similarity in the two lower tracks that is not shared by high track students.  In regards to age, only the general track made significant gains in intrinsic goal orientation whereas sophomores (M=3.881) scored much lower than seniors (M=4.750) (see table 2). 
     The results of the Extrinsic Goal Orientation scale of the MSLQ were also not significant.  For both males and females means were highest for the high track (Mm=5.792, Mf=5.542), followed by the general track (Mm=5.478, Mf=5.490) and finally the low track (Mm=5.375, Mf=4.958).  This does not support the hypothesis that high track students will be less extrinsically motivated than lower track students (see table 2). 
     The ANOVA did not find significance for the Task Value sub-scale of the MSLQ.  However, sophomore means (M=5.003) were higher than seniors’ (M=4.646).  This suggests that the sophomores feel the tasks in which they engage have more pertinent value than do seniors.  In regards to specific tracks, low track sophomores (M=5.083) and low track seniors (M=3.889) showed the greatest difference in means.  Yet the results are inconclusive as no significance was found (see table 2).
     Significance was found in the control sub-scale of the MSLQ.  Both gender, F (1,42)= 13.659, p< .05, and gender X academic track, F (2,42)= 4.968, p< .05, were significant.  The mean scores for females (M=5.678) were higher than the scores for males (M=4.815).  The results indicate that females feel they have more control over their academic pursuits than do males.  Taking academic track into account, females on each academic track scored higher than their male counterparts.  However, there was no general pattern among academic track for females.  Low track females (M=6.250) scored higher than general (M=5.187) and high (M=5.596) track females.  Males’ control scores increased with academic track.  Low track males (M=4.167) scored lower than general track males (M=5.040), who, in turn, scored lower than high track males (M=5.240).  Lower track males are likely to have a lower sense of control over academic activity than higher track males (see table 2).
     No significant results were found for the self-efficacy scale of the MSLQ.  The gender X age X academic track factor approaches significance F (2,41)= 2.919, p>.05.  Mean scores for the low and high track students show no clear differences.  The general track is likely to be the source of the difference in means, as the mean for seniors males (M=6.083) was much higher than the mean for senior females (M=4.750).  The means for sophomores were similar (Mm=4.854, Mf=5.042) but showed the opposite directional difference.  These results indicate that senior males on the general track are significantly different that senior females of the same track in regards to self-efficacy.

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Discussion
     The effects of academic tracking have been examined in previous studies (Carbone, 2000; Wiest, Wong, & Kreil 1998).  Results of these studies suggest that students placed on academic tracks will score proportionate to their track on tests of achievement motivation.  It was hypothesized that participants in this study would also score similarly.  Students from lower academic tracks were expected to score lower in intrinsic measures of achievement motivation and higher in extrinsic measures.  Likewise, it was expected that sophomores would score lower in intrinsic levels than seniors.  Gender was also examined as a factor, although no direction was predicted.  Only one sub-scale, Control Beliefs, showed significant results.  Overall, this study does not provide significant results to support these hypotheses.  However interesting trends did emerge among some variables of the other sub-scales.  
     Significance was found on the control sub-scale of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) (Pintrich et al., 1991) for gender.  Females scored higher than males on this scale.  These results suggest that females feel a better sense of control over tasks set before them.  Females were also the group that approached significance on the intrinsic scale of the Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire (SRQA) (Ryan & Connell, 1989).  In combination, females are thus the group higher in intrinsic motivation and higher in perceived control.  It is possible that a relationship exists between the two factors.  These results concur with Haguen & Lund (2000), who found that participants who were higher in intrinsic factors, such as internal, global, stable, attributional styles, were more likely to take responsibility for and control of their actions.  Wiest, Wong & Kreil (1998) found that students who score high in control also score high in achievement motivation.  These results agree that participants who feel more control over their situations are more likely to be high in intrinsic motivation.
    Results for the Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire (SRQA) (Ryan & Connell, 1989) were not statistically significant on any of the four sub-scales.  However, the results for the Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Regulation sub-scales showed interesting directional differences.  With regards to intrinsic motivation, low track males scored higher than general and high track males.  These results are not in the predicted direction.  It was thought that low track students would be lower in intrinsic motivation.  Studies by Carbone (2000); Wiest, Wong, & Kreil (1998); and Ryan & Connell (1989) do not support these findings.  The low N (5) for males on the low track may not accurately represent the whole population of low track males.  It is possible that the higher tracked students feel less pressure to complete everyday classwork and homework, as their goals may be more future oriented.  Rather than setting specific goals regarding exams or classwork, these students may be more focused on doing well so that they gain admittance to college.  This may account for the low track males scoring higher than the other tracks, which were represented more accurately.  
     The results for the Extrinsic Regulation sub-scale of the SRQA were in the predicted direction but were not significant.  Overall, sophomores scored higher than seniors did on the extrinsic measure.  Also, low track and high track sophomores scored higher than their respective senior counterparts.  It was assumed that younger students may share similarities to the low track students and that they would thus be more extrinsically motivated.  These results support the notion that younger students tend to be more interested in pleasing teachers and parents than in pleasing themselves.  
     According to the results for the Introjected Regulation sub-scale of the SRQA, low track males score lower in introjection than low track females.  These results, although not significant, may suggest that a gender difference exists between males and females in the low track with regard to the degree to which they unconsciously incorporate the desire to achieve in academic settings.  Female students scored higher on the introjected scale suggesting that they have a higher unconscious desire to achieve.  These students are often motivated to act based on external factors, yet are motivated to succeed in these tasks by internal factors (Ryan & Deci, 2000).  However, this only holds true for the low track students.  Male and female students on the general and high academic tracks were too similar to note any differences.  This may be a result of a fundamental difference in the gender groups of the lower track.  Lower tracked students tend to suffer low self-esteem from the social stigmas placed upon them (Brodbelt, 1991).  One could look to the causes for being placed on the low track as a source for this difference.
      The results for the intrinsic scale of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ), in relation to academic track, were in the predicted direction.  High track students scored higher than both the general and low track students; however the scores were not statistically significant.  It was predicted that high track students would be more intrinsically motivated than general and low track students.  Interestingly, the results contrast those of the intrinsic scale of the SRQA.  One would assume that students scoring high in intrinsic motivation on one scale would likely score high on the other as well.  This suggests that perhaps these scales tap into different factors in relation to intrinsic motivation.  The questions related to intrinsic motivation on each scale are quite different from each other.  High scores on questions like “I take notes in class because it’s fun” will result in a high intrinsic score on the SRQA (Ryan & Connell, 1989).  Whereas, one of the MSLQ questions reads “In a class like this, I prefer course material that arouses my curiosity, even if it is difficult to learn” (Pintrich et al., 1991).    These questions are clearly of a different nature, which may account for the difference in group scores on each intrinsic scale.  Females on the high track had similar scores on the SRQA to those of high track students on the MSLQ.  The results likely differ for males, as the sample size was much smaller than the female sample size.  Only five male high track students participated whereas twenty-one female high track students participated.  The difference in group size may have skewed the results on the SRQA where gender differences were noted.  Future studies should attempt to have equal numbers of males and females in each group.
      On the extrinsic scale of the MSLQ, high track students, males and females, were higher than general and low track participants.  These non-significant results do not support the hypothesis that high track students are less likely to be extrinsically motivated.  Since the high track is the college preparatory track, students may be motivated by merely completing the steps necessary to obtain admittance into college rather than for their own satisfaction, as it was hypothesized.
     Results for the Self-Efficacy scale of the MSLQ approached significance for the three-way interaction of academic track, gender, and age.  Senior males on the general track recorded the highest scores of all groups.  This difference in scores along the general track is likely the source of the interaction.  Senior males scored much higher than senior females on the scale.  Interestingly, the sophomore males scored much lower than the senior males whereas the sophomore females scored higher than senior females. Males of this age bracket may have higher self-efficacy than their female counterparts.  Females at this age may be dealing with outside issues that relate to self-efficacy.  
    As a result of the lack of significant results, confident generalizations from the data cannot be made.  The sample size used was rather small for a study of this nature.  A larger number of participants in future studies would increase the individual group size and allow for more meaningful conclusions.  
     The two questionnaires administered, the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) (Pintrich et al., 1991) and the Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire (SRQA) (Ryan & Connell, 1989), both pose instrument problems.  The SRQA was first developed by Ryan & Connell (1989) for use with children.  With permission of the author, the questionnaire was adapted for use with adolescents.  It is possible that the manner in which the wording was changed affected the way in which questions were interpreted.  Similarly, the MSLQ was developed by Pintrich et al. (1991) for use with college students.    Since the participants in the study varied in academic track and ability level, it is possible that some participants may not have understood some of the questions posed.  This also may have affected the results.  
     Taking into consideration the threats to internal validity in this study, the results do suggest that there are enough differences in achievement motivation in relation to gender, age, and academic track to warrant further studies.  Future research should seek out a larger sample size and use more than one school population.  
    The fact that differences between groups did occur on some of the sub-scales shows that this topic is worth studying.  More concrete results from future studies will be a great benefit to the educational system as they may aid in the better education of adolescents.  If teachers are aware of the ways in which groups of students learn, then they may be able to adapt their teaching styles to best suit the needs of the student.  For example, since students on lower tracks tend to be more extrinsically motivated, teachers may establish an appealing reward system for excellent work.  On the other hand, teachers of high track students may stress the innate value of certain types of knowledge.  More conclusive results will allow teachers to provide for students in the way that academic tracking had always intended.  
 
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Conclusion
     The use of academic tracking is a widely debated topic that applies to every school in the nation.  Many factors of student learning have been studied in relation to academic tracking.  Findings may provide answers to questions of the practicality of academic tracking.  Achievement motivation is essential to every student’s education.  One must be aware of the way in which he or she learns in order to best facilitate the educational process.  If tracking is to continue in schools, it is pertinent to know how students on each track tend to learn so that their needs can be met.  However, future results may provide evidence that tracking is not the most beneficial way to assist students.  Whatever the future of academic tracking, achievement motivation will always be a vital factor to students’ education that should continue to be examined.
 

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Selected References
Brodbelt, S. (1991).  How tracking restricts educational 
      opportunity.  Clearing House. 64, (6), 385-389.
Broussard, C. & Joseph, A. (1998).  Tracking: A form of 
      educational neglect.  Social Work in Education, 20, 110-121.
Carbone, T. (2000).  The Effects of Academic Tracking on 
      Attributional Style.  Unpublished undergraduate thesis, 
      Saint Anselm College.
Crosby, M., & Owens, E. (1993).  The disadvantages of 
      tracking and ability grouping: A look at cooperative
      learning.  ERIC/EDRS Doc.ed 358 184. Clemson, SC: 
      National Dropout Prevention Center. 
Haguen, R. & Lund, T. (2000).  Achievement motives, 
      Incentive values and attribution.  Scandinavian 
      Journal of Educational Research, 44, 423-432.
Kemp, S., & Watkins, D. (1996). Self-Esteem and Academic 
     Streaming in Hong Kong. Journal of Social Psychology. 
     136 (5). 651-654.
Khmelkov, V. & Hallinan, M. (1999). Organizational effects 
     on race relations in schools.  Journal of Social Issues, 
     55, 627-645.
Kozol, J. (1991) Savage Inequalities. Harper Perennial.
Nathawat, S., Singh, R., & Singh, B. (1997).  The effect of 
     need for achievement on attributional style.  The Journal 
     of Social Psychology, 137, 55-62.
Pintrich, P.R., Smith, D.A.F., Garcia, T., & McKeachie, W.J. 
     (1991).  A Manual for the Use of the Motivated Strategies 
     for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ).  The Regents of 
     The University of Michigan.  
Rosenthal, R. & Jacobsen, L. (1968) Pygmalion in the 
     Classroom. Holt, Rinehart, and Wilson Inc.
Ryan, R.M. & Connell, J.P. (1989).  Perceived locus of 
     causality and internalization: Examining reasons for 
     acting in two domains.  Journal of Personality and 
     Social Psychology, 57, 749-761.
Ryan, R.M. & Deci, E.L. (2000).  Self-Determination theory 
     and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social 
     development, and well being.  American Psychologist.
     55, 68-78.
Ryan, R.M. & Stiller, J.D. (1994). Representations of 
     relationships to teachers, parents, and friends
     as predictors of academic motivation and self-esteem. 
     Journal of Early Adolescence. 14 (2), 226-250.
Wiest, D., Wong, E. & Kreil, D. (1998). Predictors of 
     global self-worth and academic performance among 
     regular education, learning disabled, and continuing 
     education high school students.  Adolescence, 33, 601-619.

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Tables
Table 1
 Mean scores for the Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire sub-scales for effects of academic track, gender, and age.  

Intrinsic Motivation sub-scale
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  
           Low Track          General Track           High Track
Males     2.381                         1.839                        1.857
              (SE).353                 (SE).192                  (SE).223
Females   1.929                       2.214                        2.252
              (SE).353                 (SE).234                 (SE).158
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Extrinsic Motivation sub-scale
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sophomores      3.222
                        (SE).136
Seniors              2.850
                        (SE).144
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                       Low Track       General Track      High Track
Sophomores      3.519                    2.937                     3.211
                        (SE).326              (SE).195                (SE).146
Seniors               2.630                   3.153                      2.769
                        (SE).326              (SE).200               (SE).200
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Introjected sub-scale
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                Low Track           General Track        High Track
Males           2.85                         2.996                     2.578
                  (SE).333                  (SE).187               (SE).211
Females      3.259                       2.704                      2.683
                  (SE).333                  (SE).220               (SE).139

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Table 2

 Mean scores for the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire sub-scales for effects of academic track, gender, and age.

Intrinsic Scale
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Low Track      General Track      High Track
    4.313                4.315                 4.642
  (SE).386          (SE).233            (SE).207
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                   Low Track      General Track      High Track
Sophomores   4.542                 3.881                 4.642
                    (SE).545            (SE).326           (SE).244
Seniors           4.083                 4.750                 4.854
                    (SE).545            (SE).334           (SE).334
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Extrinsic Goal Orientation
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
               Low Track        General Track       High Track
Males         5.375                   5.478                  5.792
               (SE).531              (SE).288            (SE).336
Females     4.958                   5.490                  5.542
               (SE).531              (SE).351            (SE).237
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Task Value
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sophomores  5.003
                  (SE).253
Seniors         4.646
                  (SE).255
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                    Low Track     General Track     High Track
Sophomores    5.083                4.726                5.200
                    (SE).614           (SE).346           (SE).282
Seniors            3.889                5.104                4.944
                    (SE).578           (SE).354           (SE).354
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Control
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                   M            F
Males       4.815    13.659***
             (SE).168
Females   5.678
             (SE).162
***p<.001
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
              Low Track     General Track      High Track      F
Males         4.167                5.040                  5.240      4.968*
               (SE).383           (SE).208            (SE).160
Females     6.250                5.187                  5.596
               (SE).383           (SE).253            (SE).160
*p<.05
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Self-Efficacy
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
                    Low          General          High
                   Track           Track          Track
      Soph.    5.125           4.854           5.350
Males       (SE).849      (SE).347     (SE).380
      Sen.      4.417           6.083           4.667
                (SE).849      (SE).490     (SE).490
   
    Soph.     4.417            5.042           5.167
Females   (SE).490      (SE).490     (SE).490
    Sen.       4.000            4.750           5.750
                (SE).849      (SE).425     (SE).347

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Relevant Links
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Key Words:   Achievement Motivation, Academic Tracking, High School Students, Motivation 
 

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