ISPA Conference

From 19 to 22 July 2017, the 39th annual conference of the International School Psychology Association will take place in Manchester, England. At this conference, Patrick Snellings, Brenda Jansen and Ilonka de Haas will host a symposium, entitled “Motivation – the key to academic success in schools”. The abstracts can be read below:

Abstract Brenda Jansen: Self-Adapting The Success Rate When Practicing Math

Use and benefits of the possibility to choose a success rate are studied in a math-practice application that is used by a considerable percentage of Dutch primary school children. Study 1 uses data that were collected with the application, using children’s practice data (N = 40329; grades 1-6). Children differed in their preference for a high, medium, or low success rate. Preferences were associated with gender, age, and ability, matching expectations that follow from the literature. Study 2 is an experimental study with 192 children from grades 3-6, using a pretest, training phase, and posttest. The possibility to choose a success rate was manipulated. Unexpectedly, beneficial effects for math practice, improvement of math skills, and self-belief concerning math were absent. Results suggest an appreciation of the possibility to choose, although beneficial effects of choosing were not observed for motivation to practice, skill improvement, and self-belief concerning math.

Abstract Ilonka de Haas: The relation between child and parent factors and motivation for doing dyslexia homework

For children diagnosed with severe dyslexia daily homework in reading and spelling is an essential part of specialized, intensive dyslexia treatment. Moreover, doing homework regularly is predictive of treatment success. In practice, therapists and parents report having difficulty to motivate some, but not all, children with dyslexia to meet these homework requirements. In previous studies, relations have been found between reading and spelling problems and motivational and socio-emotional vulnerability. Lower self-esteem as a consequence of recurrent academic failure in reading and spelling seems to play an important role here, but little is known about parental behavior that may affect children’s motivation for reading and spelling tasks at home. In this study, we examined the relation between children’s and parental perceptions about their own competences, their coping and supportive behavior and motivation for dyslexia homework. Quantitative and qualitative data will be presented. When we know why children with dyslexia encounter motivational problems with their homework, alternative or additional intervention strategies may be helpful to improve the effectiveness of dyslexia treatment.

Abstract Patrick Snellings: Is skill not enough? The role of motivation in English language learning

Skills in English as a second language have become more and more important in both society and education across many countries. Previous research has shown that children who are proficient in their first language or have better cognitive skills are better equipped to learn a second language such as English. Other research has stressed the importance of motivational factors in learning a second language. However, the role of these factors in relation to each other is not clear yet. To improve language teaching we need to better understand the respective roles of cognitive, linguistic and motivational factors. In this study, we will study a large group of Dutch children and use first language skills, cognitive skills and motivational measures to predict children’s learning of English language skills. It is expected that highly motivated children may compensate for lower cognitive or first language skills, and that high motivation may help these children to be successful in second language learning.

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