This meta-analysis summarises 74 studies (N = 80,145) that simultaneously examined the predictive power of intelligence and motivation for school achievement. In a path model, 24% of variance in school achievement was explained overall, 66.6% was uniquely explained by intelligence, and 16.6% uniquely by motivation. Both intelligence and motivation contribute substantial and unique shares to the prediction of school achievement and an additional share of commonly explained variance.
Authors: Katharina Kriegbaum, Nicolas Becker & Birgit Spinath
Source: Kriegbaum, K., Becker, N. & Spinath, B. (2018). The relative importance of intelligence and motivation as predictors of school achievement: A meta-analysis. Educational Research Review, 25, 120-148, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2018.10.001
This meta-analysis summarises 74 studies (N = 80,145) that simultaneously examined the predictive power of intelligence and motivation for school achievement. The average correlations were moderate between intelligence (r = 0.44) and motivation (r = 0.27) with school achievement and between intelligence and motivation (r = 0.17). Correlation between motivation and school achievement was higher for expectancies than for values. In a path model, 24% of variance in school achievement was explained overall, 66.6% was uniquely explained by intelligence, and 16.6% uniquely by motivation. Both intelligence and motivation contribute substantial and unique shares to the prediction of school achievement and an additional share of commonly explained variance.
- School achievement is strongly influenced by individual student prerequisities, such as cognitive and motivational factors.
- The term school achievement summarises performance outcomes in all domains taught at school.
- School achievement functions as a selection criterion for subsequent education and jobs and is typically operationalised via school grades or standardised tests.
- Standardised test achievements are a purer measure of student achievement compared to grades. However, school grades can be perceived as a highly ecologically valid measure of school achievement because they are good predictors of future academic success and are used as allocation and selection criteria for higher education and jobs.
- Verbal and mixed intelligence tests are more strongly associated with school achievement than nonverbal intelligence.
- Intelligence is more strongly related to standardised test achievements than to school grades.
- Achievement motivation can be divided into expectancies (academic self-concept and self-efficacy), and values (intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, task values, achievement motive, achievement goals and interest).
- Intelligence and motivation have been shown to predict school achievement, with intelligence typically being the stronger predictor.
What is intelligence?
- Ability to understand complex ideas
- Ability to adapt effectively to the environment
- Ability to learn from experience
- Ability to engage in various forms of reasoning
- Ability to overcome obstacles through thought
What is motivation?
- Academic self-concept is an individual’s perception of their competence in a specific domain.
- Self-efficacy is individual expectancy about future performance and is typically measured as a conviction about how well one will be able to solve a certain task in the future.
- The value attributed to a certain task comprises different components: intrinsic value (enjoyment of task or interest), importance values (importance of doing well on a certain task), utility value (usefulness of a certain task for one’s future), and cost.
- Interest can be defined as a personality-specific trait (such as a relatively stable preference for a specific learning topic) and a situation-specific state related to attraction of a specific learning condition.
- Whereas intrinsic motivation is defined as engaging in something for its own sake and for enjoyment, extrinsic motivation is defined as doing something for its consequences.
- Achievement goals can be divided in four different types: mastery-approach goals focus on the positive development of one’s own competence; mastery-avoidance goals tap the fear of losing competence; performance-approach goals focus on demonstrating one’s own competence and performing better than others; and performance-avoidance goals focus on hiding supposed incompetence and striving not to perform worse than others.
- Achievement motives include hope for success (a positive attitude towards performance), the belief that one can succeed, positive emotions in achievement situations, and fear of failure (such as a negative, fearful attitude towards performance and negative emotions in corresponding situations).