Students' school motivation and aspiration over high school years: A cross-cultural study set in Hong Kong

Dennis Michael MCINERNEY, See Shing YEUNG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


In achievement goal theory, goals are cognitive representations of the purposes students adopt for their learning in achievement situations. Thus, students’ achievement goals answer the basic question: Why am I doing this (academic) task? In answering this question, students’ achievement goals guide and direct students’ cognition, behaviour and affect as they engage in academic tasks. Hence, achievement goals are presumed to be linked to achievement outcomes. Apart from academic achievement, important outcomes as a function of achievement goals may include education and career aspirations. During the years of high school, motivational goals develop together with experiences of success and failure in schoolwork. It is therefore important to examine whether there is a developmental trend in students’ goal orientations and whether achievement-related orientations are associated with student aspirations for education and career. In this study, we focus on the academic aspects of goals and examine the differential influences of such goals on outcomes such as education and career aspirations. We also examine the potential trend of students’ development in their goal orientations and aspirations across grades 7, 9, and 11 in a Hong Kong high school. Findings are discussed in the context of the cultural and educational background of Chinese students in Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005


cultural studies
Hong Kong
career aspiration
academic achievement
school grade


McInerney, D., & Yeung, A. (2005, August). Students' school motivation and aspiration over high school years: A cross-cultural study set in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the 11th European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction Biennial Conference: Multiple Perspectives on Effective Learning Environments, Nicosia, Cyprus.