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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Joe Elliott

Elliott, J. & Hufton, N. (2003). Achievement motivation in real contexts. BJEP Monograph Series II: Development and Motivation 2: 155-172.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper draws upon changing circumstances in Russia to raise a series of questions about the meaningfulness of much current work in the field of achievement motivation. Russian children of the former Soviet Union have traditionally been described as highly motivated students whose levels of achievement often exceeded those of Western countries such as England and the USA. Despite the massive social and economic disruption that followed in the 1990s, it appeared that this commitment was largely maintained. More recently, however, there are increasing signs of educational polarization, alienation and evidence of a more visible underclass for whom education appears to have little value. The paper discusses some major influences in the lives of Russian children that appear to be resulting in decreased achievement motivation and performance. In so doing, it raises larger questions about the capacity of current achievement motivation theory and methodology to provde rich and meaningful understandings about those factors that lead individuals, communities, cultures and nations to commit to academic study.


Edited by: Leslie Smith, Colin Rogers and Peter Tomlinson.