Feelings and performance in the first year at university: Learning-related emotions as predictors of achievement outcomes in mathematics and statistics

A.C. Niculescu*, D.T. Tempelaar, J. Leppink, A. Dailey-Hebert, M.S.R. Segers, W.H. Gijselaers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction. This study examined the predictive value of four learning-related emotions Enjoyment, Anxiety, Boredom and Hopelessness for achievement outcomes in the first year of study at university. Method. We used a large sample (N = 2337) of first year university students enrolled over three consecutive academic years in a mathematics and statistics course, from an undergraduate Economics and an International Business degree programs. Results. We first showed significant differences in the emotional experiences between the students who attended, and those who were absent from the final exam. Second, the present study found emotions to have a strong predictive value for student exam scores, particularly for learning hopelessness and a prior mathematics background. This relationship was consistent over three consecutive academic years. Discussion and Conclusion. Recommendations for improving educational practice have been formulated and are shared in this article.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-462
Number of pages32
JournalElectronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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