Assessing Motivation as Predictors of Academic Success in Collegiate Aviation Classrooms

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Nicholas Wilson
Robert Stupnisky


The aviation industry changes rapidly. As such, it is important to continually re-assess our understanding of future aviation professionals and how their motivation translates into career-related performance. The present study applies Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1986) to understand 229 students’ motivation in a fourth-year technical aircraft systems course. To further our understanding of motivation and performance, the Science Motivation Questionnaire II (SMQ-II; Glynn, Brickman, Armstrong, & Taasoobshirazi, 2011), which measures intrinsic motivation, career motivation, grade motivation, self-determination, and self-efficacy, was adapted to the collegiate aviation domain. Using structural equation modeling techniques (Arbuckle, 2017), the study found strong predictive relationships between self-efficacy and academic performance, as well as a moderate relationship between self-determination and academic performance. The study found weak or unanticipated results as to the regression relationship between academic performance and grade motivation, intrinsic motivation, and career motivation. This study reinforces concepts on motivation and academic performance within the environment of collegiate aviation.

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