A "top-down" analysis of high school teacher motivation

Keith D. Ciani, Jessica J. Summers, Matthew A. Easter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Classroom instruction may be affected by school contexts that are increasingly performance-driven because of legislative demands. Interpreting this as a need to investigate the relationships between school context and classroom practice, this study took a "top-down" approach by examining contextual elements of school goal structure and teacher community on teachers' sense of self- and collective efficacy, and classroom goal structures. After collecting data from teachers in four Midwestern high schools, results indicated that teachers in highly performance-oriented schools reported significantly less adaptive motivational beliefs, lower community, and more performance-oriented instruction than teachers in a low performance-oriented school. Furthermore, a path analysis revealed that classroom goal structures were significantly and indirectly related to teacher community. We discuss how academic context may affect teachers' motivational beliefs as well as classroom practices, and make recommendations for future research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-560
Number of pages28
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Collective efficacy
  • Goal structures
  • No Child Left Behind
  • Teacher community
  • Teacher self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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