European Journal of Psychology of Education

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 201–216 | Cite as

On the relationship between value orientation, valences, and academic achievement

  • Stefan Fries
  • Sebastian Schmid
  • Manfred Hofer


Value orientations are believed to influence learning in school. We assume that this influence is mediated by the valences attached to specific school subjects. In a questionnaire study (704 students from 36 classes) achievement and well-being value orientations were measured. Students also rated valence scales for the school subjects German and Mathematics and reported their respective grades. In order to take into consideration the nested data structure, the mediation hypotheses were tested using the Hierarchical Linear Model in a series of intercept only models. School grades were significantly predicted by value orientation. A mediation analysis indicated that this relation was completely mediated by the valences of the different school subjects.

Key words

Academic achievement Hierarchical linear model Mediation analysis Valence Value orientation 


Les orientations valeurs sont supposées influencer l’apprentissage. Nous croyons que cette influence est médiate par les valences des disciplines scolaires. Dans un sondage (704 étudiants de 36 classes) les orientations des valeurs de réussite et de bien-être ont été mesurées. En outre, les étudiants ont indiqué leur valence pour les disciplines d’allemand et de mathématique et communiqué leurs notes respectives. Pour tenir compte de la structure imbriquée des dates, les hypothèses médiatiques ont été analysées en utilisant le Modéle Hiérarchique Linéaire avec des models intercept-only. Les notes ont été prédites de façon significative par les orientations valeur. L’analyse de médiation indique une dépendance strictement médiate par les valences des différentes disciplines scolaires.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baron, R.M., & Kenny, D.A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173–1182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boehnke, K. (2005). Value orientations in relation to mathematical self-esteem: An exploratory study of their role in mathematical achievement among German, Israeli, and Canadian 14-year-olds.European Journal of Psychology of Education, 20, 227–241.Google Scholar
  3. Boekaerts, M. (2003). Adolescence in Dutch culture: A self-regulation perspective. In F. Pajares & T. Urdan (Eds.),Adolescence and education: International perspectives on adolescence and education (vol. 3, pp. 102–124). Greenwich, CT, Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  4. Bollen, K., & Lennox, R. (1991). Conventional wisdom on measurement: A structural equation perspective.Psychological Bulletin, 110, 305–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brendl, C.M., & Higgins, E.T. (1996). Principles of judging valence: What makes events positive or negative? In M.P. Zanna (Ed.),Advances in experimental social psychology (vol. 28, pp. 95–160). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bubeck, M., & Bilsky, W. (2004). Value structure at an early age.Swiss Journal of Psychology, 63, 31–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cantor, N. (1994). Life task problem solving: Situational affordances and personal needs.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20, 235–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (Eds.), (2002).Handbook of self-determination research. Rochester, New York: University of Rochester Press.Google Scholar
  9. Eccles, J.S., & Wigfield, A. (2002). Motivational beliefs, values, and goals.Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 109–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fazio, R.H. (2001). On the automatic activation of associated evaluations: An overview.Cognition and Emotion, 15, 115–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Feather, N.T. (1988). Values, valences, and course enrollment: Testing the role of personal values within an expectancyvalence framework.Journal of Educational Psychology, 80, 381–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Feather, N.T. (1990). Bridging the gap between values and actions: Recent applications of the expectancy-value model. In E.T. Higgins & R.M. Sorrentino (Eds.),Handbook of motivation and cognition: Foundations of social behavior (vol. 2, pp. 151–192). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  13. Feather, N.T. (1995). Values, valences, and choice: The influence of values on the perceived attractiveness and choice of alternatives.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 1135–1151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Feather, N.T. (1999).Values, achievement, and justice: Studies in the psychology of deservingness. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.Google Scholar
  15. Fries, S., Schmid, S., Dietz, F., & Hofer, M. (2005). Conflicting values and their impact on learning.European Journal of Psychology of Education, 20, 259–273.Google Scholar
  16. Graham, J.W., Cumsille, P.E., & Ekek-Fisk, E. (2003). Methods for handling missing data. In J.A. Schinka & W.F. Velicer (Eds.),Methods in Psychology (pp. 87–114). New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  17. Greenfield, P.M., Keller, H., Fuligni, A., & Maynard, A. (2003). Cultural pathways through universal development.Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 461–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Himmelfarb, S. (1993). The measurement of attitudes. In A.H. Eagly & S. Chaiken (Eds.),The psychology of attitudes (pp. 23–87). Forth Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.Google Scholar
  19. Hitlin, S., & Piliavin, J.A. (2004). Values: Reviving a dormant concept.Annual Review of Sociology, 30, 359–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hofer, M., & Peetsma, T. (2005). Societal values and school motivation. Students’ goals in different life domains. Introduction to the special issue.European Journal of Psychology of Education, 20, 203–208.Google Scholar
  21. Hofer, M., Schmid, S., Fries, S., Dietz, F., Clausen, M., & Reinders, H. (2007). Individual values, motivational conflicts, and learning for school.Learning and Instruction, 17, 17–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Inglehart, R. (1997).Modernization and postmodernization. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Inglehart, R., & Baker, W.E. (2000). Modernization, cultural change, and the persistence of traditional values.American Sociological Review, 65, 19–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kenny, D.A., Kashy, D.A., & Bolger, N. (1998). Data analysis in social psychology. In D. Gilbert, S.T. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Hrsg.),Handbook of social psychology (4th ed., vol. 1, pp. 233–265). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  25. Kenny, D.A., Korchmaros, J.D., & Bolger, N. (2003). Lower level mediation in multilevel models.Psychological Methods, 8, 115–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kessels, U. (2005). Fitting into the stereotype: How gender-stereotyped perceptions of prototypic peers relate to liking of school subjects.European Journal of Psychology of Education, 20, 309–323.Google Scholar
  27. Krull, J.L., & MacKinnon, D.P. (2001). Multilevel modeling of individual and group level mediated effects.Multivariate Behavioral Research, 26, 249–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lens, W., Lacante, M., Vansteenkiste, M., & Herrera, D. (2005). Study persistence and academic achievement as a function of the type of competing motivational tendencies.European Journal of Psychology of Education, 20, 275–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lewin, K. (1951).Field theory in social science: Selected theoretical papers by Kurt Lewin (D. Cartwright, Ed.), New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  30. Maio, G.R., & Olson, J.M. (2000). What is a “value-expressive” attitude? In G.R. Maio & J.M. Olson (Eds.),Why we evaluate: Functions of attitudes (pp. 249–269). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  31. Maio, G.R., Olson, J.M., Bernard, M.M., & Luke, M.A. (2003). Ideologies, values, attitudes, and behavior. In J. DeLamater (Eds.),Handbook of social psychology (pp. 283–308). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  32. Marini, M.M. (2000). Social norms and values. In E.F. Borgatta & R.J.V. Montgomery (Eds.),Encyclopedia of sociology (pp. 2828–2840). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  33. Oviada, S. (2003). Suggestions of the postmodern self: Value changes in American high school students, 1976–1996.Sociological Perspectives, 46, 239–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pansu, P., Bressoux, P., & Louche, C. (2003). Theory of the social norm of internality applied to education and organizations. In N. Dubois (Ed.),A social cognitive approach to social norms (pp. 195–230). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Raudenbush, S.W., & Bryk, A.S. (2002).Hierarchical lienar models: Applications and data analysis methods. (2nd ed.), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  36. Raudenbush, S.W., Bryk, A.S., Cheong, Y.F., & Cogdon, R.T. (2000).HLM 5: Hierarchical linear and nonlinear modeling. Lincolnwood, IL: Scientific Software International, Inc.Google Scholar
  37. Rokeach, M. (1973).The nature of human values. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  38. Rubin, D.B. (1987).Multiple imputation for nonresponse in surveys. New York: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schiefele, U. (1999). Interest and learning from text.Scientific Studies of Reading, 3, 257–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schmid, S., Hofer, M., Dietz, F., Reinders, H., & Fries, S. (2005). Value orientations and everyday action conflicts: An interview study.European Journal of Psychology of Education, 20, 243–258.Google Scholar
  41. Schwartz, S.H. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of values: Theory and empirical test in 20 countries. In M. Zanna (Ed.),Advances in experimental social psychology (vol. 25, S. 1–65). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  42. Schwartz, S.H., Melech, G., Lehmann, A., Burgess, S., Harris, M., & Owens, V. (2001). Extending the cross-cultural validity of the theory of basic human values with a different method of measurement.Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 32, 519–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Seligman, C., Olson, J.M., & Zanna, M.P. (Eds.), (1996).The psychology of values: The Ontario Symposium (vol. 8). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  44. Shafer, J.L. (1999). NORM: Multiple imputation of incomplete multivariate data under a normal model, version 2 [Computer Software for Windows 95/98/NT]. Retrieved January 12, 2005 from Scholar
  45. Sobel, M.E. (1982). Amsymptotic confidence intervals for indirect effects in structural equation models. In S. Leinhardt (Ed.),Sociological methodology (pp. 290–312). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  46. Streiner, D.L. (2003). Being inconsistent about consistency: When coefficient alpha does and doesn’t matter.Journal of Personality Assessment, 80, 217–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Urdan, T. (Ed.), (1999).Advances in motivation and achievement: The role of context (vol. 11). Stamford, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  48. Verplanken, B., & Holland, R.W. (2002). Motivated decision making: Effects of activation and self-centrality of value on choices and behavior.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 434–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Weber, M. (1949).Max Weber on the methodology of the social sciences (E.A. Shils & H.A. Finch, Eds. & Trans.). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  50. Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J. (2000). Expectancy-value theory of achievement motivation.Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 68–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MannheimGermany

Personalised recommendations