Garon-Carrier G, Boivin M, Guay F, Kovas Y, Dionne G, Lemelin J-P, Séguin JR, Tremblay RE. (2016). Intrinsic motivation and achievement in mathematics in elementary school: A longitudinal investigation of their association. Child Development. 87: 165-175.
This study examined the associations between intrinsic motivation and achievement in mathematics in a sample of 1,478 Canadian school-age children followed from Grades 1 to 4 (ages 7-10). Children self-reported their intrinsic motivation toward mathematics, whereas achievement was measured through direct assessment of mathematics abilities. Cross-lagged models showed that achievement predicted intrinsic motivation from Grades 1 to 2, and from Grades 2 to 4. However, intrinsic motivation did not predict achievement at any time. This developmental pattern of association was gender invariant. Contrary to the hypothesis that motivation and achievement are reciprocally associated over time, our results point to a directional association from prior achievement to subsequent intrinsic motivation. Results are discussed in light of their theoretical and practical implications.