ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION LEVEL OF PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN: ANXIETY AND...
ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION LEVEL
OF PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN:
ANXIETY AND ACADEMIC
ACHIEVEMENT
K.N. MISHRA
The study explores the effect of achievement motivation on anxiety and academic
achievement of children. The Test Anxiety Scale for Children (Sarason, Davidson,
Lighthall and Waite, 1958), General Anxiety Scale for Children (Sarason et al,
J 958) and Achievement Motivation Scale (Robinson and Argule, 1961 cf. Cohen,
1976) were administered to 183 primary school children reading in classes III
through V. Children were grouped into high and low achievement motivation
groups on the basis of median split on achievement motivation score. These groups
were matched on motivational levels. The findings showed that children with high
n-ach performed better academically and possessed significantly low level of test
anxiety. However, they failed to differ in general anxiety. A disordinal interaction
was observed between education and achievement motivation level on test anxi-
ety. It was further observed that academic achievement of class III children was
negatively correlated with general anxiety and positively with test anxiety. In case
of class IV and V children, academic achievement was negatively correlated with
both general and test anxiety. The low achievement motivation children of class
V showed significant and positive correlation between academic achievement and
test anxiety.
Dr. K.N. Mishra is a faculty member from the Regional College of Education,
Bhubaneshwar.
Programmes designed to identify and support children with outstand-
ing talents, or having a persistent problem of dropout and under-
achievement, or programmes to attain a minimum level of learning and
competency, education for all and so on have attracted attention of
educationists on academic achievement of children and factors asso-
ciated with it. Academic achievement of children includes both cog-
nitive and non-cognitive aspects. Generally, academic achievement is

Achievement Motivation Level of Primary School 25
considered as marks or grades obtained in a written examination,
which is nothing but the capacity of a child to recall from memory the
answers to questions. The academic achievement of children is ef-
fected by many social and psychological factors and makes a discrep-
ancy between expectations and real achievement of children.
Numerous instances can be cited where actual performance of children
differ widely from their own expectations and those of their parents
and teachers. The reason behind it may be present in the current
examination system, decline of an academic climate, and so on. In this
way academic achievement is invariably the outcome of the combined
efforts of children, teachers, school management and the social cli-
mate. The importance of children's ability in achievement is unques-
tionable. Research findings show that the academic achievement of
children is influenced by the level of motivation to achieve higher
standards. This is an acquired motive which grows under the effective
control of an individual's experience in certain realms of social inter-
action. Its presence in children itself is determined by various factors
such as sex, race, and social class (Bartel, 1971; Feather and Simon,
1973; Horner, 1978; and Mohanan, Kuhu and Shaver, 1974).
It is observed that children with a high self-concept have high achieve-
ment motivation which significantly contributes to their academic
achievement (Mishra, 1992a). The sex and achievement motivation of
children also affects their academic achievement. Female children have
a higher achievement motivation and they secure higher marks in com-
parison to their male counterparts (Mishra, 1992b). Panda (1990) ob-
served that children with an anxiety trait have a negative relationship with
their school achievement. Low anxiety children were better in serial
verbal learning tasks as compared to high anxiety children (Purandare,
1984). The achievement motivation of children is effected by their age,
and their parent's educational level (Ahluwalia, 1985). The children's
grade was also revealed as an effective variable on achievement motiva-
tion. Need for achievement is correlated significantly with intellectual
efficiency, introversion-extroversion, mathematics achievement (Singh,
1986), and socioeconomic status (Mansuri, 1986; Singh, 1986; Tripathi,
1986). Children with high level of socioeconomic status were found to
have a significantly high achievement motivation. The academic perform-
ance of children is positively and significantly related with their
achievement motivation.
The present study is aimed to ascertain whether a child's academic
achievement and anxiety vary in terms of achievement motivation of

26 K. N. Mishra
children, and to explore correlation among these variables so as to see
dependability of various measures.
Method
Sample
One hundred and eighty-three primary school children of class III to
V served as samples for the present study. The number of children
studying in class III, IV, and V were 48, 64 and 71 respectively. The
children were grouped into high and low achievement motivation
group on the basis of a median split on achievement motivation scores.
The number of children under each group have been presented in Table
1. Unequal N has been taken care of in the analysis.
Table 1
NUMBER OF CHILDREN UNDER EACH EDUCATIONAL AND
MOTIVATIONAL LEVEL
Note: The Median score on Achievement Motivation Scores are presented in paren-
thesis.
Achievement Motivation Scale
The Achievement Motivation Scale (Robinson and Argule, 1962, cf:
Cohen, 1976) has been widely used in Indian conditions (Mohanty,
1985; Nayak, 1992; Panda, 1990; Rath, 1991; Ray, 1982; Santra,
1991;). The test is found to be a suitable tool for measuring achieve-
ment motivation of children based on success and failure experiences.
The split-half reliability was established and it was found to be around
0.54 in Indian conditions (Panda, 1990). The effect of n-ach as revealed
in these studies is, in itself, an indication of the discriminant validity
of the test. The scale was used here with the sole purpose to classify
children under high and low achievement motivation groups.
Test Anxiety Scale for Children
The Test Anxiety Scale for Children (TASC) (Sarason et al, 1958)
consists of 30 questions relating to children's feelings about their
school, examination and examination-like situations. The child

Achievement Motivation Level of Primary School 27
respondent gives his/her response by encircling 'Yes' or 'No'. The
score on the scale can be computed by counting the number of times
'Yes' is encircled against the statement. A low score on the TASC
suggests that the child is not characteristically anxious in examinations
and examination-like situations. The validity of TASC was established
and was found to have a negative correlation ranging from -.002 to
-.234 between overt indicators of anxiety and TASC scores.
General Anxiety Scale for Children
The General Anxiety Scale for Children (GASC) (Sarason etal, 1958)
consists of 45 items including eleven lie items scattered throughout the
scale. The scale includes items like the thoughts and feelings of
children to different anxious situations such as health problems, per-
sonal adequacy, safety of family members, and so on. The total score
of a child can be obtained by counting the number of items encircled
'Yes' excluding those eleven lie items. Sarason, Davidson, Lighthall,
Waite and Ruebush (1960) have done a great exercise to establish
reliability and validity of the test. The scale was found psychometri-
cally sound to measure general anxiety of children, specifically in a
reliable and valid way (Mohanty, 1985) with Oriya primary school
children.
Academic Achievement
English and English (1958) defined academic achievement as an
attained ability to perform school tasks. In this study, the marks
obtained in previous examinations are taken into consideration and
converted into T-Score in order to control difficulty level of questions
used in school examination. School examination marks are customar-
ily used as a measure of achievement for social research purposes
(Buch, 1984; Buch, 1989).
Analysis of Results
It is clear from the values presented in Table 2 that the academic
achievement of the high achievement motivation group children was
better as compared to that of the low achievement motivation group
children. The variation of academic achievement is low among low
achievement motivation group children. But children of both groups
did not vary significantly in their general anxiety. However, the mean
scores on test anxiety of high and low achievement motivation
group children of class III, IV, and V give a clear picture that high

28 KN. Mishra
achievement motivation children have a lesser amount of test anxiety
and their test anxiety decreases with higher educational level. The low
achievement motivation group children failed to exhibit the same
trend. It was also clear from Table 2 that there are variations in the
children's academic achievement with varying degrees of general
anxiety and test anxiety irrespective of the achievement motivation
level. On the basis of the mean scores of children it is not possible to
generalise. Therefore, the scores were subjected to 2 (achievement
motivation level — High and Low) X 3 (Educational level — Class
III, IV and V) analysis of variance. The summary of the analysis of
variance has been presented in Table 3.
Table 2
MEAN AND SDs OF CHILDREN WITH VARYING EDUCATION AND
MOTIVATION LEVEL ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT SCORES IN
SCHOOL EXAMINATION GENERAL ANXIETY AND TEST ANXIETY
A perusal of Table 3 has made it clear that academic achievement
of children is significantly affected by children's achievement moti-
vation level (F=22.029; df=l,177; p < 0.01). The significant F value
of 22.029 for df 1,177 indicates that the children with high achieve-
ment motivation performed better in comparison to those who had low
achievement motivation. But the effect of educational level and inter-
action effect of educational level and achievement motivation level did
not reach the significance level of 0.05. The F values were less than 1
in these cases.

Achievement Motivation Level of Primary School 29
Table 3
SUMMARY OF 2 (HIGH AND LOW ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION)
X 3 (REDUCTIONAL LEVEL) ANALYSIS OF VARIANCE OF ACADEMIC
ACHIEVEMENT, GENERAL ANXIETY AND TEST ANXIETY
In case of general anxiety the main effect for the educational level
of children was significant (F=18.220; df=2,177; p < 0.01). The mean
difference of 3.802 and 4.755, between class III and IV children
respectively, were significant at the 0.01 level (t1,2=4.196; t2,3=5.813).
The significant mean differences indicated that class IV children were
having more anxiety in anxious situations such as health problems,
personal adequacy, safety of their family members, physical harm and
so on as compared to class III and V children. However, the main effect
of achievement motivation and interaction effect between educational
level and achievement motivation were not significant.
Education and achievement level of children were found responsi-
ble for scores on test anxiety. The F value of 13.685 and 8.982 were

30 KN.Mishra
obtained for the education and achievement motivation level respec-
tively. The mean difference of 3.695 and 5.961, between class IV and
V respectively, were significant at the 0.01 level (t1,2=2.958 and
t2,3=5.174). The significant mean difference indicated that class IV
children were having anxiety in examination and examination-like
situations as compared to class III and V children. Children under high
motivation set higher standards and work harder to achieve those
standards. These things also determine the magnitude of test anxiety
(F=8.982; df=l,177; p < 0.01). The significant F value of 8.982
indicates that children with low achievement motivation are having a
high degree of test anxiety as compared to children with high achieve-
ment motivation. In this regard an explanation seems to be in order
that children with high achievement motivation keep a proper account
of their efforts and assessment to achieve the goal. Therefore, at the
time of evaluation made by others, they have a low examination
anxiety due to confidence over their performance.
Significant interaction effect was found between educational level
and achievement motivation of children on examination anxiety
(F=3.702; df=2,177; p 0.05). Observation of means presented in Table
2 indicates that there is a disordinal interaction between two variables.
The children who possessed low achievement motivation and were
reading in class IV and V showed greater examination anxiety as
compared to those having high achievement motivation and studying
in the same classes. The situation is just the opposite in case of class
III children.
An insightful observation of values presented in Tables 2 and 3
reflect that the academic achievement of children is influenced by
examination anxiety. When children have a high level of achievement
motivation and a low examination anxiety, they secure good scores in
their examinations as compared to those who have low achievement
motivation accompanied with high examination anxiety.
In order to give a clear picture of the relationship among general
anxiety, test anxiety and academic achievement of high and low
achievement motivation children of class III, IV and V, correlation
coefficients were also worked out. An attempt was made to measure
the dependability of the relationships. The correlation coefficient and
dependability scores are presented in Table 4.
Inter-correlations between academic achievement, general anxiety,
and test anxiety for high and low achievement motivation groups
of class III were -0.857, 0.796, -0.136 and -0.329 respectively. The

Achievement Motivation Level of Primary School 31
Table 4
CORRELATION AMONG ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT, GENERAL
ANXIETY AND EXAMINATION ANXIETY WITH DEPENDABILITY
(IN PERCENTAGE)
correlation value of -0.857 and 0.796 were significant. The significant
negative correlation was found between academic achievement and
general anxiety scores. The correlation coefficient between academic
achievement and test anxiety was positive and significant (r=0.796).
The significant positive correlation made it clear that academic
achievement and test anxiety depend on each other. However, these
two measures do not make any significant contribution to academic
achievement in case of low achievement motivation group of class III
children. Significant and negative correlation was found between
general anxiety and academic achievement of high achievement mo-
tivation group children of class IV (r = -0.527). The correlation between
test anxiety and academic achievement of high achievement motiva-
tion group and correlation between academic achievement and general
anxiety of low achievement motivation group of class IV children were
negative, but these correlation coefficients failed to reach significant
levels. In case of high achievement motivation group children of class
V, test anxiety is negatively correlated with academic achievement. A
significant negative correlation coefficient of -0.802 was found be-
tween test anxiety and academic achievement of high achievement
motivation group children, whereas low achievement motivation
group children of the same class showed positive relationships be-
tween test anxiety and academic achievement (r=0.361).

32 K.N. Mishra
On the basis of the dependability score, it can be stated that
academic achievement of high achievement motivation group of class
III depends 48.47 per cent on general anxiety and 39.47 per cent on
examination anxiety. The dependability percentage of general anxiety
for academic achievement of high achievement motivation group
children is decreasing when they move to higher classes. Academic
achievement of low achievement motivation group children depends
poorly on general anxiety and test anxiety.
A close scrutiny of the findings of this study made it clear that
high achievement motivation group children are better in academic
achievement. They do not differ in general anxiety but they have
less amount of examination anxiety. Besides, the level of examina-
tion anxiety of the children also decreases with move to higher
classes. Education and achievement motivation level of children are
responsible for their examination anxiety. A disordinal interaction
takes place between educational and achievement motivation level.
Academic achievement of high achievement motivation group chil-
dren of class III was significant and negatively correlated with
general anxiety and positively with examination anxiety. Academic
achievement of these children greatly depend upon their examina-
tion anxiety and general anxiety. In case of class IV students,
academic achievement was negatively correlated with general anxi-
ety. Class V children showed negative correlation between aca-
demic achievement and examination anxiety. As regards low
achievement motivation group children of classes III, IV and V, the
correlation coefficient between academic achievement and general
anxiety, and for academic achievement and examination anxiety
were poor. Only one correlation was found significant and positive
in case of class V children. Academic achievement is greatly de-
pendent on examination anxiety.
Certain educational implications can be visualised on the basis of
these findings. For example, in order to increase academic achieve-
ment and reduce anxiety level among school children, it is imperative
that children be trained in having a high achievement motivation,
realistic goal settings, and achievement striving. These training activi-
ties can be operated by their teacher through behaviour and planned
intervention. Simultaneously, the teacher should be success oriented
and less anxiety oriented, particularly with children at lower educa-
tional levels. At the primary level it is necessary in view of depend-
ability of the measures of anxiety and achievement.

Achievement Motivation Level of Primary School 33
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