The impact of values and learning approaches on student achievement: Gender and academic discipline influences

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22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents results from a longitudinal study of sojourner students which wasconducted at an international university in Germany from 2004 to 2007. The study followed a cohort of undergraduate students from the first week of their studies to their graduation. Participants completed three questionnaires: the Portrait Value Questionnaire (Schwartz et al., 2001), the Study Process Questionnaire (Biggs, 1987b), and the Student Background Questionnaire (Matthews, Lietz, & Darmawan, 2007). Structural Equation Modelling was used to examine how personal values influenced students' learning approaches and how these, in turn, were related to students' achievement. It was also examined how robust these relationships were once gender and discipline area (i.e., Social Sciences or Natural Sciences) were included in the models and whether or not they changed over time. Results showed that specific combinations of values were related to each learning approach. Certain consistency of these relationships was observed over the three years. The deep and achieving learning approaches were associated with higher achievement, whereas students who displayed more characteristics of the surface learning approach had lower academic performance. Finally, analyses pinpointed higher performance of female students and the predominant absence of effects of academic discipline on learning approaches or achievement over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-231
Number of pages22
JournalIssues in Educational Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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