Aboriginal, Anglo, and immigrant Australian students' motivational beliefs about personal academic success

are there cultural differences?

Dennis M. McInerney, John Hinkley, Martin Dowson, Shawn Van Etten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)


Does being successful at school mean the same thing for all children? In Australia, research posits that Aboriginal Australian, Anglo Australian, and immigrant Australian children embrace different learning goals (i.e., mastery, performance, or social) according to their culture. In this study, a 38-item inventory was used to measure similarities and differences between Aboriginal (n = 496), Anglo (n = 1,173), and immigrant (n = 487) Australian students' learning goal orientations. In contrast to existing conceptions, these findings indicate that the profiles of Aboriginal, Anglo, and immigrant students were remarkably similar, with students embracing a mastery orientation of academic success. Nevertheless, there were significant (albeit small) differences among the groups, and these differences indicated that Aboriginal students are more influenced by social goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-629
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1998
Externally publishedYes


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