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Classroom factors, motivation and cognition

To get the table's arrangement, first read the table headings from left to right as one sentence.

Classroom contextual factors

affect motivational factors

and thereby affect thinking.

When class tasks are meaningful, challenging and authentic to life outside school/college...

When authority relationships provide optimal choice and optimal challenge...

When evaluation is improvement-based, and mistakes are treated as positive...


When classroom norms promote active engagement...

When teacher verbalizes and models the thinking wanted from students...


When teacher scaffolds (takes part in a way that supports) cognition, motivation, interaction...

Students choose mastery goals (learning) over performance goals (grades, competitition).

Students seek best answer over any answer, and they avoid closure to get the best answer.

Students assign greater use value, exchange value, to the topic.


Students attribute greater importance and significance to the subject matter.

Students are more likely to think they can succeed in the task.


Students are more likely to form a personal interest as a general attitude toward a subject matter.

Students attend to the salient aspects of the task and ideas involved in it.

Students activate and use prior knowledge.


Students engage in deeper mental processing, for example, paraphrasing, concept mapping.


Students engage in problem-finding and problem-solving.

Students exert metacognitive control, for example, comparing a current idea and an alternative idea.


Students exert volitional control, for example, by persisting in the task.

Adapted from Pintrich, P. R., Marx, R. W., & Boyle, R. A. (1993). Beyond cold conceptual change: The role of motivational beliefs and classroom contextual factors in the process of conceptual change. Review of Educational Research, 63 (2), 167-199. Summary 6/27/2003 by Tom Bird