The psychometric properties of the Academic Motivation Scale-College version of South African first-year university students
South African universities have one of the lowest graduation rates in the world (South Africa, Department of Higher Education and Training, DHET, 2014). However, there are various reasons why students are unsuccessful in their pursuit of a tertiary education. Arguably, the most important reason is a lack of academic motivation. Often the sudden transition from high school to university, the increase in demands and the dire lack of resources lead to students’ absence of motivation. Consequently, many students drop out in their first year of study, affecting both them and the higher education institution (HEI) negatively. The present study, therefore, argues that both HEIs as well as their first-year students could benefit from a valid and reliable instrument, adapted for use in South Africa, to proactively identify students at risk. The general objective was to validate the Academic Motivation Scale-College version (AMS-C) for use among first-year university students. The general objective of this study was achieved by examining the factorial validity, reliability, convergent, discriminant and predictive validity of the AMS-C. The data used in the present study was gathered through use of convenience sampling and a sample of 611 first-year students attending a HEI in South Africa was attained. A cross-sectional design was used in the present study. To determine the above-mentioned psychometric properties of the AMS-C, Mplus 8.1, a statistical analysis program was used. The results show that a seven-factor model and a three-factor model were tested. Both models showed acceptable fit. However, very high inter-correlations were found between some of the sub-scales of the seven-factor measurement model. Based on these results, it seemed that a three-factor model should be preferred above the seven-factor model. Three independent academic motivation factors were found and were termed intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation and a motivation. The AMS-C three-factor model further showed acceptable levels of factorial validity, reliability, convergent and discriminant validity. Lastly, it was also established that academic motivation significantly predicted students’ satisfaction with their studies as well as academic performance. After conclusions for the study were drawn, recommendations were made for universities and students, and for future research.
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