Extracurricular Activities and Academic Motivation for Rural Area Students

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School motivation leads and supports students’ efforts and active cognitive resources to learn. However, this is a very broad concept and some authors distinguish between three relevant constructs for motivation in educational contexts: academic self-efficacy, achievement motivation, and causal attribution of achievement. The objectives of the study were: 1) to determine what the level of motivation for school task is, as well as in the three motivational constructs: academic self-efficacy, achievement motivation, and causal attribution of achievement; 2) to establish whether there is any relationship or association between overall motivation or any of its motivational constructs and the variables related to extracurricular activities. The study was conducted on 321 students enrolled in the last two grades of Primary Education. To this end, an interpretive, descriptive and inferential cross-sectional study was carried out using a non-probabilistic sample of voluntary subjects. An ad hoc questionnaire was designed and the School Motivation Scale (SMS) was administered with a Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of 0.753. The results indicate that students’ motivation for school tasks is high with respect to the overall motivation, as well as in each of the three dimensions analyzed by means of SMS. In addition, the amount of extracurricular activities that each child is involved in varies between a minimum of zero activities and a maximum of seven activities per week, and students attending these activities spend, mostly, between three and six hours per week (44%). Academic and sports activities have the highest percentage of participation (26.8%), whereas academic activities have the lowest percentage (6.4%). A significant correlation was found between the amount of extracurricular activities and self-efficacy (p = .010). Significant differences between the types of extracurricular activities (academic, sports, and arts) and self-efficacy (p = .001) were also found. Finally, the results are discussed and compared with those obtained in previous studies, demonstrating the consistency of our findings.