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A New Self-Report Scale of Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic Orientation in the C

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Developmental Psychology 1981, Vol. 17, No. 3, 300-312

Copyright 1981 by the American Psychological Association, Inc. 0012-1649/81 /1703-0300S00.75

A New Self-Report Scale of Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic Orientation in the Classroom:

Motivational and Informational Components

Susan Harter University of Denver

This article reports on a new self-report scale that taps a child's intrinsic versus extrinsic orientation toward learning and mastery in the classroom. Five separate dimensions are defined by an intrinsic and an extrinsic pole: preference for chal- lenge versus preference for easy work, curiosity/interest versus teacher approval, independent mastery attempts versus dependence on the teacher, independent judgment versus reliance on the teacher's judgment, and internal versus external criteria for success/failure. The reliability and factorial validity of the scale have been adequately demonstrated. Additional validity studies are reported. Higher order factoring reveals two distinct clusters of subscales: The first three dimen- sions form one factor and are interpreted as more motivational in nature; the remaining two are viewed as more cognitive-informational in nature. Develop- mental data reveal that across Grades 3-9 there is a shift from intrinsic to extrinsic on the first motivational cluster. Conversely, there is a dramatic de- velopmental shift from extrinsic to intrinsic on the cognitive-informational clus- ter. Interpretations for these developmental differences are advanced, and the educational implications are explored. The discussion focuses on the need to be precise in our conceptualization and operationalization of the term intrinsic motivation.

Recent trends within the domain of mo- tivation have led to an increasing emphasis

An earlier version of this article was presented at the meeting of the Society for Research in Child Develop- ment, San Francisco, March 1979. This research was supported by Grant HD-09613 from the National In- stitute of Child Health and Human Development, De- partment of Health, Education and Welfare, U.S. Pub- lic Health Service. The author would like to acknowledge the extensive cooperation of both the school personnel and pupils from the following school systems, without whose assistance this scale could not have been constructed: the Cherry Creek Public School System, the Denver Public School System, and the Jefferson County Public School System, all in Colorado; the Ventura School District Ventura

on the construct of intrinsic motivation (see Deci, 1975, for a review of many of the the- oretical models that address this construct). One approach can be seen in the efforts of experimental social psychologists, notably Lepper (1980), Deci (1975), and their col- leagues, who are empirically examining at- tributional models that specify the con- ditions under which extrinsic rewards undermine intrinsic motivation. One also finds the concept of intrinsic motivation in those broad theoretical formulations that have focused on mastery and competence. Our own approach has taken White's (1959) model of effectance motivation as a point of

A New Self-Report Scale of Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic Orientation in the C

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