Motivation in transition: Development and roles of expectancy, task values, and costs in early college engineering.

This longitudinal study investigated development in expectancy for success (perceived competence), 3 types of task value (utility, interest, attainment), and 3 types of perceived cost (opportunity, effort, psychological) for engineering students during their first 2 years of college. Latent growth curve models indicated declines in expectancy and values, with attainment value declining more slowly than expectancy, interest value, and utility value. Costs increased over time, with effort cost increasing more rapidly than psychological cost. Demographic differences were observed in initial levels of motivation, but not in rates of change over time. Students with slower declines in expectancy and value and slower increases in effort cost achieved higher grades and were more likely to remain in an engineering major. The attainment value model explained the largest amount of variance in engineering major retention, while the expectancy model explained the largest amount of variance in GPA. Taking a supportive gateway course in the first semester rather than later was associated with slower declines in utility value and attainment value, and slower increases in effort cost. Results suggest expectancy, values, and costs display unique patterns of development and uniquely relate to predictors and outcomes, extending our theoretical understanding of motivation in early college. Implications for practice include the promise of programmatic efforts to support students’ motivation in engineering through supportive gateway courses early in college. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)