Making the Grade: A Self-Worth Perspective on Motivation and School Reform

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Overview

Achievement behavior in schools can be understood best in terms of students' attempts to maintain a positive self-image. For many students, expending effort is frightening because a combination of effort and failure implies low ability. They have a variety of techniques for avoiding failure, ranging from cheating to setting goals that are so easily achieved that no risk is involved. Although teachers usually reward achievement and punish lack of effort, for many students risking the sense of defeat that comes from trying hard and not succeeding is too daunting. In Making the Grade, Martin Covington extracts powerful educational implications from self-worth theory and other contemporary views that will be useful for educators, parents, and all people concerned with the educational dilemmas we face.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...very readable, insightful, and sensible. It offers a framework for curriculum planning, raises questions concerning what should be the goals of education and suggests some meaningful ways schools can prepare students for the future...provides a valuable discussion of the motivation issues that need greater attention in debates on school reform." Judith L. Meece, Educational Researcher

"An extensive and thoughtful conversation about achievement behavior (motivation). It is a book that is hard to put down if one is seriously inquiring into the topic." Choice

"...presents a good compilation of the author's research over the last 20 years. The book is very readable, insightful, and sensible. It offers a framework for curriculum planning, raises questions concerning what should be the goals of education, and suggests some meaningful ways schools can prepare students for the future....a valuable discussion of the motivation issues that need greater attention in debates on school reform." Educational Researcher

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521342612
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1992
  • Pages: 364
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

Part I. The Future and its Discontents: Prospects for building the future; The failure to learn: A motivational analysis; A moral tale; Part II. Motives as Emotions: Need achievement; The model: B = M x P x I; Analysis and critique; Further educational implications; Part III. Motives as thoughts: Cognitions versus emotions; Analysis and critique; Educational implications; Conclusions; Part IV. Self-Worth and the Fear of Failure: Self-worth theory of achievement motivation; An arsenal of excuses; Motivated cognitions and coping; Conclusions; Part V. Achievement Anxiety: A brief history; Integration; Reducing anxiety; Conclusions; Part VI. The Competitive Learning Game: The structure of learning; Scarcity of rewards; Competition and minorities; Conclusions; Part VII. Motivational Equity and the Will to Learn: The problem; Solutions; Global gambit; Conclusions; Part VIII. Strategic Thinking and the Will to Learn: What is thinking?; The evidence; Strategic problems; Problem discovery; The transfer of knowledge; Analysis and conclusions; Part IX. An Immodest Proposal: Serious games; Playing school; Schools and jobs; Prospects and conclusions; Part X. Obstacles to Change: The myths of competition; If not competition, then what?; Conclusions; Appendices; References; Index.

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