Full paper Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

Exploring undergraduate students’ motivation and engagement in China (#96)

Hongbiao Yin 1
  1. The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong

Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)

Viewing student engagement as a multidimensional construct, this study explored the motivation and engagement of undergraduate students in China. A sample of 1,131 students from 10 full-time universities in Beijing participated in a survey. The results showed that the Motivation and Engagement Scale for university/college students is a promising and valid instrument for assessing student engagement in Chinese universities. Chinese undergraduates simultaneously performed well in both adaptive and maladaptive motivation and engagement, indicating some influence from the cultural context of China. Four categories of learners were generated according to their motivation and engagement characteristics. Some consistent patterns of individual differences related to gender, grade, discipline and institution type were revealed.

The results have implications for enhancing student engagement. First, student engagement in Chinese universities is not as optimistic as it looks. The students considered in this study performed well in terms of both the adaptive and maladaptive motivation factors. Second, an examination of the individual differences indicated that campus environments and teaching methods may affect student motivation and engagement. Therefore, Chinese universities should provide a better and more engaging environment for student learning by improving their facilities and services on campus. Moreover, instructors and faculty members should be encouraged to adopt innovative teaching methods. Finally, this study found that second-year students were less motivated to learn and engage in learning than the students in other grades. The instructors and student-affairs professionals at Chinese universities must pay more attention to the learning and adaption difficulties faced by students and sophomores in particular.

Addressing the theme/s of the Conference (up to 200 words recommended)

This submission addresses the sub-theme of "Assessing, evidencing and evaluating graduate capabilities".

In recent decades, the quality of teaching and learning in higher education has been under close scrutiny. Student learning is a core goal of universities, whose governance processes must place considerable emphasis on monitoring student learning performance. Therefore, the quality of student learning must be positioned as a core objective within institutional and system-level governance arrangements.

The existing quality assurance mechanisms in China place too much emphasis on information related to institutions and teaching, and not enough on what students are actually doing in universities. It is important to factor information about student engagement into determinations of the quality of university education.

This study considers student engagement as a multifaceted construct consisting of behavioural, emotional and cognitive dimensions. Using the well-established Motivation and Engagement Scale for University/College Students (MES-UC), this study explores the motivation and engagement of undergraduate students in the context of mainland China.

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