Motivation - Achievement

Intelligence is consistently related to school achievement. However, Dweck has pointed out that students’ beliefs about whether intelligence is fixed or malleable are important to academic success regardless of intelligence. Bearing in mind the stability of individual differences in measured intelligence, we aimed to address how students’ beliefs about the efficacy of effort, self-perceptions of ability, and measured intelligence affect their school achievement. In a sample of 199 first-year middle-school students from an open neighborhood school in Beijing, we found that students’ beliefs about the efficacy of effort and self-perceptions of ability were highly correlated, and each was moderately correlated with intelligence. Intelligence explained about 16% of the variance in both Chinese and Math achievement, but students’ beliefs and self-perceptions still explained an additional 14% of the variance in Math and 16% in Chinese achievement. We discuss the theoretical implications of these results.