Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 795–803 | Cite as

Psychometric examination of the short version of the learning climate questionnaire using item response theory

  • Shi YuEmail author
  • Anne Traynor
  • Chantal Levesque-Bristol
Original Paper


Self-determination theory proposes that autonomy support in the classroom is critical for students’ optimal motivation and performance. However, the literature has not adequately demonstrated the psychometric qualities of the most popular measurement for autonomy-supportive classrooms, the Learning Climate Questionnaire (LCQ) and its short version. Using the graded response model in item response theory (IRT), the current study evaluates the short version of the LCQ with a large sample (N = 13570). IRT and classic psychometric analyses show that the scale is generally satisfactory in measuring latent learning climate, with the exceptions that Item 4 appears to be inadequate and that the scale is relatively weak in distinguishing highly autonomy-supportive classrooms. We provide suggestions for future studies, such as dropping Item 4 and including more items that tap into instructional practices located on the higher end of the latent autonomy support spectrum. Implications of the current findings for the conceptualization of autonomy support are also discussed.


Item response theory Self-determination theory Autonomy support Learning climate Motivation 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Purdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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