Harnessing the power of motivational factors for optimizing the educational success of remote indigenous students: A cross-cultural study

Dennis Michael MCINERNEY, Ronnel Bornasal KING

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The aims of this study were (1) to examine the relationships among achievement goals, self-concept, learning strategies and self-regulation for post-secondary Indigenous Australian and Native American students and (2) to investigate whether the relationships among these key variables were similar or different for the two groups. Methodology: Students from the two Indigenous groups answered questionnaires assessing the relevant variables. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to analyse the data. Structure-oriented analysis was used to compare the two groups in terms of the strengths of the pathways, while level-oriented analysis was used to compare mean level differences. Findings: Self-concept was found to positively predict deep learning and self-regulated learning, and these effects were mediated by achievement goals. Students who pursued mastery and social goals had more positive educational outcomes. Both structure and level-oriented differences were found. Research implications: Drawing on two distinct research traditions – self-concept and achievement goals – this study explored the synergies between these two perspectives and showed how the key constructs drawn from each framework were associated with successful learning. Practical implications: To improve learning outcomes, interventions may need to target students’ self-concept, mastery-oriented and socially oriented motivations. Social implications: Supporting Indigenous students in their post-secondary education is an imperative. Psychologists have important insights to offer that can help achieve this noble aim. Originality/value of the chapter: Research on Indigenous students has mostly adopted a deficiency model. In contrast, this study takes an explicitly positive perspective on Indigenous student success by focusing on the active psychological ingredients that facilitate successful learning. Copyright © 2013 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSeeding success in indigenous Australian higher education
EditorsRhonda G. CRAVEN, Janet MOONEY
Place of PublicationBingley, U.K.
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
ISBN (Electronic)9781781906873
ISBN (Print)9781781906866
Publication statusPublished - 2013



McInerney D. M., & King, R. B. (2013). Harnessing the power of motivational factors for optimizing the educational success of remote indigenous students: A cross-cultural study. In R. G. Craven, & J. Mooney (Eds.), Seeding success in indigenous Australian higher education (pp. 81-111). Bingley, U.K.: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


  • Self-concept
  • Achievement goals
  • Deep learning
  • Self-regulated learning
  • Indigenous Australian students
  • Native American students