Achievement motivation attributes of international students attending a postsecondary institution

Paula Chernoff Epstein, Florida International University


The purpose of this study was to identify and compare the causal attributes of achievement motivation for academic success possessed by international students to those causal attributes of achievement motivation by other legal immigrant student groups attending a postsecondary institution. In this study, F-1 international students have obtained permission from the federal Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services to attend Miami-Dade Community College in Miami, Florida. There were two additional groups of students selected to participate in this study: Permanent Resident students and Others comprised of asylees, refugees and paroles, which are specific categories of legal immigrant students. From the observations of the investigator, international students were more successful at the institution as compared to the other two student groups as measured by such variables as Grade Point Average, Number of Credits Earned and Honors Day awards. By identifying these attributes of achievement motivation, additional curricula, support services and activities can be developed to meet the needs of these highly motivated students. Incorporating the theories of McClelland and Weiner in the theoretical framework of the study, both quantitative and qualitative data were collected from 150 subjects using the Measurement of Achievement Motivation Questionnaire and the Guided Biography Interview as data collection instruments. Statistical analyses on the data collected from the three groups of foreign born students at the institution indicated differences in these identified attributes and their effects on academic success. Results indicated that F-1 international students at Miami-Dade Community College were highly motivated to achieve, possessed different causal attributes of achievement motivation and displayed their need for achievement in different activities and in different ways as compared to the Permanent Resident and Other student groups. Further investigation on the importance of residency status as an influencing factor of achievement motivation is suggested.

Subject Area

Community colleges|Bilingual education|Multicultural education|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Epstein, Paula Chernoff, "Achievement motivation attributes of international students attending a postsecondary institution" (1996). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9625353.