Pädagogische Psychologie, Diagnostik und Evaluation

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Research Interests

R. Pekrun’s main research interests pertain to achievement emotion and motivation, educational assessment, and the implementation of effective classroom instruction and learning environments in schools.

(1) Achievement emotion and motivation

Emotions are ubiquitous in achievement settings and can profoundly influence learning and achievement. Apart from test anxiety and attributional studies, however, achievement emotions have not received much empirical attention. In our program of emotion research, we analyze the structures, functions, and antecedents of emotions experienced in various achievement settings and cultures, as addressed by Pekrun’s control-value theory of achieve¬ment emotions. A specific focus is the achievement emotions experienced by students and teachers. Currently, five major lines of our emotion research pertain to (a) the effects of emotions on basic cognitive functions underlying human learning; (b) the relationships between achievement goals and achievement emotions, including their joint and mediated effects on performance; (c) the development of achieve¬ment emotions in childhood and adolescence, including emotional development in subject domains such as mathematics; (d) the universality of achievement emotions across genders and cultures; and (e) the emotions experienced by teachers. This research is an interdisciplinary effort and uses both laboratory-based experimental designs and field studies. Various strategies to analyze emotions are employed, including behavioral assessment, self-report, and neuroscientific methods.

(2) Educational assessment

With the exception of test anxiety scales, measures assessing achieve¬ment emotions are lacking. We are developing instruments measuring various discrete achievement emotions, such as the Achievement Emotions Questionnaire (AEQ), as well as instruments assessing related variables of learning environments in schools and families. Related to this work, R. Pekrun contributed to the 2003 and 2006 cycles of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). As a member of the PISA Questionnaire Expert Group and the national German consortium of PISA, he was co-responsible for the assessment of student characteristics and family environments within the PISA assessments.

(3) Implementing effective learning environments

In a new line of classroom research, we contribute to the implemention of effective learning environments aiming to promote students’ adaptive emotions, meta-cognitive and cognitive strategy use, self-regulation, and cognitive performance. In cooperation with mathematics educators, this research currently focusses on two programs that target classroom instruction and student learning in mathematics. Using modelling tasks that are suited to facilitate cognitive and affective activation, the first program involves individual and group-based self-regulated learning in mathematics classrooms. The second program aims to implement self-regulated learning in computer-based learning environments in mathematics. Studies in both programs use quasi-experimental designs and assess cognitive as well as affective processes and outcomes, with a specific focus on mathematical modelling competencies and students’ achievement emotions in mathematics.