Motivations for Learning

How to Cite

McKenna, C. (2014). Motivations for Learning: Mastery Experiences in a Low Socio-economic Middle School. Educational Renaissance, 3(1), 21-32.


The purpose of this multi-case study was to discover the causes of low self-efficacy for math for a group of historically low-performing 7th grade students at a high-poverty urban middle school. Bandura’s (1986) Social Cognitive Theory, specifically the concept of self-efficacy. Qualitative methods were used to collect data, including structured one-on-one interviews and classroom observations. In addition, a student survey provided data on student self-efficacy and offered further insight into individual student perceptions. The cross-case analysis surfaced evidence for each of the four sources of self-efficacy. The findings of this study can provide educators with insights into the causes of low self-efficacy for students at the middle grade level and allow researchers to theorize about a broader set of cases related to learning math.