Academic Performance in Human Anatomy and Physiology Classes: A 2-Yr Study of Academic Motivation and Grade Expectation

Diana Sturges, Georgia Southern University
Trent W. Maurer, Georgia Southern University
Deborah Allen, Georgia Southern University
Delena Bell Gatch, Georgia Southern University
Padmini Shankar, Georgia Southern University

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This project used a nonexperimental design with a convenience sample and studied the relationship between academic motivation, grade expectation, and academic performance in 1,210 students enrolled in undergraduate human anatomy and physiology (HAP) classes over a 2-yr period. A 42-item survey that included 28 items of the adapted academic motivation scale for HAP based on self-determination theory was administered in class during the first 3 wk of each semester. Students with higher grade point averages, who studied for longer hours and reported to be more motivated to succeed, did better academically in these classes. There was a significant relationship between students' scores on the adapted academic motivation scale and performance. Students were more extrinsically motivated to succeed in HAP courses than intrinsically motivated to succeed, and the analyses revealed that the most significant predictor of final grade was within the extrinsic scale (introjected and external types). Students' motivations remained stable throughout the course sequence. The data showed a significant relationship between HAP students' expected grade and their final grade in class. Finally, 65.5% of students overestimated their final grade, with 29% of students overestimating by two to four letter grades.