HomeThe Asia-Pacific Education Researchervol. 20 no. 1 (2011)

Critical Thinking, Negative Academic Emotions, and Achievement: A Mediational Analysis

Felicidad T. Villavicencio

Discipline: Education



The study tested the control-value theory’s (Pekrun, 2006; Pekrun, Goetz, Titz, & Perry, 2002) assumptions regarding the cognitive-motivational effects of emotions on achievement. Specifically, the link between critical thinking and achievement was examined among 220 engineering students. The Academic Emotions Questionnaire (Pekrun, Goetz, & Frenzel, 2005) was used to assess how specific negative academic emotions mediated the effect of critical thinking on achievement. Results showed that critical thinking was positively associated with achievement, but negative emotions (anger, anxiety, shame, boredom, and hopelessness) were negatively correlated with achievement. Anxiety and hopelessness were found to completely mediate the relationship between critical thinking and academic achievement. The results suggested that when students engage in critical thinking, their cognitive resources are used appropriately for the task to be completed, making them less anxious and less hopeless, thereby increasing their achievement.

exercise. Results suggested that student misconceptions about the technologies often undermine most of the learning benefits afforded by them. For teachers, this meant that some significant orientation at the beginning of courses needs to occur to reveal to the students what the learning technologies are for, and how students can benefit from a reflective and more strategic approach to their use.