Motivational beliefs, course experiences and future plans of postgraduate students in Pakistan

2017-02-06T05:34:41Z (GMT) by Nausheen, Munaza
Much of the previous research on students’ motivational beliefs and course experiences, in the context of higher education has been conducted in the West, with very few studies conducted in Asian countries and even fewer studies in the Pakistani context. This study investigated the motivational beliefs, course experiences and future plans of postgraduate students in a highly ranked Pakistani university. The study employed a theoretical framework based on social cognitive and expectancy value theories, proposing that certain entry characteristics such as gender, admission score and parents’ socio-economic status along with future plans and certain contextual factors such as department and shift of study serve to shape students’ motivational beliefs and course experiences, which in turn influences their academic achievement. Four faculties were randomly selected from 13 faculties at the University of the Punjab, Pakistan. Within the four faculties, the researcher was given access to five departments. Postgraduate student participants (N=368 of whom 235 were female) with a mean age of 22.45 years (range 19-41 years) and who were enrolled in either the morning or afternoon shift of study, volunteered to undertake the survey. This study had four main groups of variables: motivational beliefs, course experience, academic achievement and future plans of the students. A questionnaire was developed using scales from the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ), and the Course Experiences Questionnaire (CEQ) to measure the motivational beliefs and course experiences of students. Students’ achievement scores in the course were obtained from the students’ records office as a measure of their academic achievement. Three open-ended questions and one structured response question were used to obtain information about the future plans of students. Data analyses included an exploratory factor analysis of motivation scales and course experience scales, descriptive statistics, Multivariate Analyses of Covariance (MANCOVA), correlation analysis and a multinomial logistic regression of the quantitative data. A thematic analysis of students’ responses to the open-ended questions about their future plans was also performed. The results indicated that the factorial structure of the two Western based instruments, the MSLQ and the CEQ, changed when used with postgraduate students in the Pakistani context. Motivational beliefs and course experiences varied significantly by gender, department and shift of study. Students’ achievement scores were significantly related to their motivational beliefs and course experiences. Significant correlations were also found among almost all motivational beliefs and course experience factors. Moreover students’ motivational beliefs were influenced by their future plans. Overall the results indicated that the students’ entry characteristics (gender, admission scores, and future plans) as well as the context of learning (department and shift of study) played a part in the degree and nature of motivational beliefs and course experiences, and thereby influenced the academic outcomes.