We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Joe Elliott

Hufton. N., Elliott, J. & Illushin, L. (2002). Educational Motivation and Engagement: qualitative accounts from three countries. British Educational Research Journal 28(2): 265-289.

Author(s) from Durham


This article extends and develops earlier survey studies by reporting findings from detailed interviews with adolescents in Sunderland, Kentucky and St Petersburg. The interviews sought to examine a number of key factors underpinning educational motivation and engagement, in particular, attitudes about schooling, self-evaluations of academic performance, patterns and rate of work at home and at school, reasons why education may be valuable and aspirations for the future. A number of reasons for the presence of high levels of English and American self-satisfaction, and lower Russian self-evaluations are presented. In line with the earlier studies, yet contrary to a widely held position, effort appeared to be emphasised more than ability in explaining differential performance. Differences in the meaning and understanding of such constructs are considered. The article then examines the important influence of peers, and teacher-pupil relationships, upon classroom behaviour and work rates. Differing perceptions as to the intrinsic and extrinsic value of education are explored. In conclusion, the implications for educational reform and attempts to raise educational achievement are considered.


ABER, J. L., GEPHART, M., BROOKS-GUNN, J., CONNELL, J. & SPENCER, M. B. (1997) Neighbourhood ,
family, and individual processes as they in uence child and adolescent outcomes, in: J. BROOKS-GUNN,
G. J. DUNCAN & J. L. ABER (Eds.) Neighbourhood Poverty: Vol. 1. Context and Consequence s for
Children (New York, Russell Sage Foundation) .
ALEXANDER, R. J. (1999) Culture in pedagogy, pedagogy across cultures, in: R. J. ALEXANDER, P.
BROADFOOT & D. PHILLIPS (Eds) Learning from Comparing: new directions in comparative education
research, vol. 1. (Oxford, Symposium Books).
ALEXANDER, R. J. (2000) Culture and Pedagogy (Oxford, Blackwell).
BARANOV, A. (1998) A real threat to the nation’s future, Russian Education and Society, 40, pp. 6–16.
BARBER, M. (2000) High expectation s and standards for all, no matter what: creating a world class
education service in England, paper presented to an invited audience in Washington, DC, 31 May.
BEMPECHAT, J. & DRAGO-SEVERSON, E. (1999) Cross-national differences in academic achievement :
beyond etic conception s of children ’s understandings , Review of Educational Research, 69, pp.
BEMPECHAT, J. & ELLIOTT, J. G. (Eds) (in press) Achievement Motivation in Culture and Context:
understandin g children’s learning experience s (San Francisco, CA, Jossey–Bass).
BRONFENBRENNER , U. (1967) Response to pressure from peers versus adults among Soviet and American
school children, Internationa l Journal of Psychology, 2, pp. 199–207.
BRONFENBRENNER , U. (1979) The Ecology of Human Development (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University
BRONFENBRENNER , U. (1989) Ecological systems theory, in: R. VASTA (Ed.) Annals of Child Development—
six theories of child development : revised formulation s and current issues (Greenwich, CT, JAI
BROWN, M. (1998) The Tyranny of the Internationa l Horse Race (London, Kings College).
CHUPROV, V. & ZUBOK, I. (1997) Social con ict in the sphere of the education of youth, Education in
Russia, the Independen t States and Eastern Europe, 15, pp. 47–58.
CORRIGAN, P. (1979) Schooling the Smash Street Kids (London, Macmillan).
COVINGTON, M. V. (1992) Making the Grade: a self-worth perspective on motivation and school reform
(Cambridge, MA, Cambridge University Press).
DAMON, W. (1995) Greater Expectations (New York, Free Press).
DEYOUNG, A. (1994) Children at risk in America’s rural schools: economic and cultural dimensions , in:
R. J. ROSSI (Ed.) Schools and Students at Risk: context and framework for positive change (New York,
Teachers College Press).
DORNYEI, Z. (2000) Motivation in action: towards a process-oriente d conceptualisatio n of student
motivation, British Journal of Educational Psychology, 70, pp. 519–538.
ELLIOTT, J. (1998) Raising Educational Achievement : what can we learn from overseas? Inaugural
professoria l lecture, University of Sunderland (October).
ELLIOTT, J., HUFTON, N., ANDERMAN, E. & ILLUSHIN, L. (2000) The psychology of motivation and its
relevance to educational practice, Educational and Child Psychology, 17, pp. 121–137.
ELLIOTT, J., HUFTON, N., HILDRETH, A. & ILLUSHIN, L. (1999) Factors in uencing educationa l motivation:
a study of attitudes , expectation s and behaviour of children in Sunderland, Kentucky and St
Petersburg, British Educational Research Journal, 25, pp. 75–94.
ELLIOTT, J., HUFTON, N., ILLUSHIN, L. & LAUCHLAN, F. (2001a) Motivation in the junior years: international
perspective s on children’s attitudes, expectation s and behaviour and their relationshi p to
educationa l achievement , Oxford Review of Education, 27, pp. 37–68.
ELLIOTT, J., HUFTON, N., ILLUSHIN, L. & WILLIS,W. (2001b) ‘The kids are doing all right’: difference s in
parental satisfaction , expectatio n and attribution in St. Petersburg, Sunderland and Kentucky, Cambridge
Journal of Education, 31, pp. 179–204.
ELLIOTT, J., HUFTON, N., ILLUSHIN, L. & WILLIS, W. (in preparation ) Performance in Context: motivation
and achievement from an international perspective (London, Macmillan).
GLOWKA, D. (1995) Schulen und unterricht in vergleich . Rusland/Deutschland (Schools and teaching in
comparison: Russia and Germany) (New York, Waxmann Verlag).
GRIGORENKO, E. L. (1998) Russian ‘Defectology’: anticipatin g perestroika in the Ž eld, Journal of
Learning Disabilities, 31, pp. 193–207.
HECKHAUSEN, H. (1991) Motivation and Action (Berlin, Springer-Verlag) .
HEINE, S. J., LEHMAN, D. R., MARKUS, H. R. & KITAYAMA, S. (1999) Is there a universal need for positive
self-regard? Psychologica l Review, 106, pp. 766–794.
HOLMES, B., READ, G. H. & VOSKRESENSKAYA, N. (1995) Russian Education: tradition and transition
(New York, Garland).
HOWLEY, C. B., HOWLEY,A. & PENDARVIS, E. D. (1995) Out of Our Minds: anti-intellectualis m and talent
development in American schooling (New York, Teachers College Press).
HUFTON, N. & ELLIOTT, J. (2000) Motivation to learn: the pedagogica l nexus in the Russian school: some
implications for transnational research and policy borrowing, Educational Studies, 26, pp. 115–136.
HUFTON, N., ELLIOTT, J. G. & ILLUSHIN, L. (in press) Achievement motivation: cross-cultura l puzzles and
paradoxes , in: J. BEMPECHAT & J. G. ELLIOTT (Eds) Achievement Motivation in Culture and Context:
understandin g children’s learning experience s (San Francisco, CA, Jossey–Bass).
JUVONEN, J. & NISHINA, A. (1997) Social motivation in the classroom: attributiona l accounts and
developmenta l analyses, in: M. L. MAEHR & P. R. PINTRICH (Eds) Advances in Motivation and
Achievement (Vol. 10) (Greenwich, CT, JAI Press).
KEYS, W., HARRIS, S. & FERNANDES, C. (1997a) Third Internationa l Mathematics and Science Study, First
National Report (Part 2) (Slough, National Foundation for Educational Research).
KEYS, W., HARRIS, S. & FERNANDES, C. (1997b) Third Internationa l Mathematics and Science Study,
Second National Report (Part 2) (Slough, National Foundation for Educational Research).
KITAEV, I. V. (1994) Russian education in transition : transformation of labour market, attitudes of youth
and changes in management of higher and lifelong education, Oxford Review of Education, 20, pp.
KUHL, J. (1984) Volitional aspects of achievement motivation and learned helplessness : towards a
comprehensiv e theory of action control, in: B. A. MAHER (Ed.) Progress in Experimental Personality
Research (Vol. 13) (New York, Academic Press).
LISOVSKII, V. T. (1999) Young people talk about themselves and the times, Russian Education and
Society, 41, pp. 48–61.
LUNDEBERG, M. A., FOX, P. W., BROWN, A. C. & ELBEDOUR, S. (2000) Cultural in uences on conŽ dence:
country and gender, Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, pp. 152–159.
MARSH, H. W. & YEUNG, A. S. (1997) Causal effects of academic self-concep t on academic achievement :
structural equation models of longitudina l data, Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, pp. 41–54.
MARTIN, A. J. & DEBUS, R. L. (1998) Self-report s of mathematics self-concep t and educational outcomes:
the roles of ego-dimension s and self-consciousness , British Journal of Educational Psychology, 68, pp.
R. A. & O’CONNOR, K. M. (2000) TIMSS 1999: internationa l science report (Boston, MA, International
Study Centre, Boston College).
MOLDEN, D. C. & DWECK, C. S. (2000) Meaning and motivation, in: C. SANSONE & J. M. HARACKIEWICZ
(Eds) Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation: the search for optimal motivation and performance (New
York, Academic Press).
MUCKLE, J. (1988) A Guide to the Soviet Curriculum (London, Croom Helm).
MUCKLE, J. (1990) Portrait of a Soviet School under Glasnost (London, Macmillan).
CHROSTOWSKI, S. J. & SMITH, T. A. (2000) TIMSS 1999: international mathematics report (Boston,
MA, Internationa l Study Centre, Boston College).
for educationa l reform (Washington, DC, NCEE).
NICHOLLS, J. G. (1984) Conceptions of ability and achievement motivation, in: R. AMES & C. AMES (Eds)
Research on Motivation in Education: student motivation (New York, Academic Press).
NICHOLLS, J. G. (1989) The Democratic Ethos and Competitive Education (Cambridge, MA, Harvard
University Press).
NIKANDROV, N. D. (1995) Russian education after perestroika : the search for new values, International
Review of Education, 41, pp. 47–57.
OETTINGEN, G. (1995) Cross-cultura l perspective s on self-efŽ cacy, in: A. BANDURA (Ed.) Self-efŽ cacy in
Changing Societies (New York, Cambridge University Press).
OL’SHANSKII, V. B., KLIMOVA, S. G. & VOLZHKAIA, N. (2000) School students in a changing society
(1982–1997), Russian Education and Society, 42, pp. 44–40.
PINTRICH, P. R. & SCHUNK, D. H. (1996) Motivation in Education: theory, research and application s
(Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice Hall).
POPOVAND, V. A. & KONDRAT’EVA, O. I. (2000) Change in the motivational-valu e orientation s of young
people in school, Russian Education and Society, 42, pp. 77–85.
PETERS, D. F.,WILSON, S. M. & PETERSON, G.W. (1986) Adolescents and rural Appalachian families, in:
G. K. LEIGH & G. W. PETERSON (Eds) Adolescent s in Families (Cincinnati , OH, South-Western
RAKHMANIN, V. (1997) Education as a factor of humanistic security and social development , Russian
Education and Society, 39, pp. 57–70.
REYNOLDS, D. & FARRELL, S. (1996) Worlds Apart? A Review of Internationa l Surveys of Educational
Achievement Involving England (London, HMSO).
RUTKEVICH, M. (2000) Change in the social role of the general education school in Russia, Russian
Education and Society, 42, pp. 5–25.
RYAN, R. M. (2000) Peer groups as a context for the socialisation of adolescents ’ motivation, engagement
and achievement in school, Educational Psychologist, 35, pp. 101–111.
RYAN, R. M. & DECI, D. L. (2000) Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations : classic deŽ nitions and new
directions, Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, pp. 54–67.
SHEN, C. & PEDULLA, J. J. (2000) The relationshi p between students ’ achievement and their selfperception
of competence and rigour of mathematics and science: a cross-nationa l analysis, Assessment
in Education, 7, pp. 237–253.
STEINBERG, L. (1996) Beyond the Classroom: why school reform has failed and what parents need to do
(New York, Touchstone Books).
STEVENSON, H. W., CHEN, C. & UTTAL, D. H. (1990) Beliefs and achievement : a study of Black, Anglo
and Hispanic children, Child Development, 61, pp. 508–523.
STEVENSON, H.W. & LEE, S. (1990) A study of American, Chinese and Japanese Children, Monographs
of the Society for Research in Child Development, No. 221, 55 (whole issue).
STEVENSON, H. W. & NERISON-LOW, R. (1998) To Sum It Up: case studies of education in Germany,
Japan, and the United States (Washington, DC, National Institute on Student Achievement, Curriculum
and Assessment: US Department of Education).
STEVENSON, H.W. & STIGLER, J. W. (1992) The Learning Gap: why our schools are failing and what we
can learn from Japanese and Chinese education (New York, Summit Books).
STIGLER, J. W. & HIEBERT, J. (1999) The Teaching Gap (New York, Free Press).
SYKES, C. J. (1995) Dumbing Down Our Kids (New York, St Martin’s GrifŽ n).
WEINER, B. (1979) A theory of motivation for some classroom experiences , Journal of Educational
Psychology, 71, pp. 3–25.
WENTZEL, K. R. (1999) Social-motivationa l processes and interpersona l relationships : implications for
understandin g motivation at school, Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, pp. 76–97.
WILKINSON, C. (1995) The Drop Out Society: young people on the margin (Leicester, Youth Work Press).
WILLIAMS, C. (1997) Convergenc e or divergence ? A comparative analysis of youth in Russia and Britain,
Education in Russia, the Independen t States and Eastern Europe, 15, pp. 12–20.
WILSON, S. M., HENRY, C. S. & PETERSON, G.W. (1997) Life satisfaction among low-income rural youth
from Appalachia, Journal of Adolescence, 20, pp. 443–459.
ZIOMEK, R. & SVEC, J. (1997) High school grades and activity: evidence of grade in ation, NASSP
Bulletin, 81, pp. 105–113.
ZIRKEL, P. A. (1999) Grade in ation? A leadership opportunit y for schools of education? Teachers
College Record, 101, pp. 247–260.
ZUBOK, I. A. (1999) Exclusion in the study of problems of young people, Russian Education and Society,
41, pp. 39–53.