The Impact of COVID-19-triggered Changes to Instruction and Assessment on University Students’ Self-Reported Motivation, Engagement, and Perceptions

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  • In March 2020, university students had to adjust to remote learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This abrupt change likely impacted students’ motivation, engagement, and perceptions of success and cheating. We used a single survey to collect retrospective self-report data from a convenience sample of Canadian undergraduate students (n = 98) about their motivation, engagement, and perceptions of success and cheating before COVID-19 and then in remote learning. Students' achievement goals, engagement, and perceptions of success all significantly decreased, while their perceptions of cheating increased. Moreover, we used regression analyses to examine associations amongst achievement goals and engagement, perceptions of success, and cheating concerns. The most consistent association was that mastery-approach goals were positively associated with more engagement and higher perceptions of success. An interesting effect for performance-avoidance goals and perceptions of success also emerged. Achievement goals were unrelated to cheating. Students in large classes and who were originally concerned about cheating became more concerned about cheating in remote learning conditions. Our study provides information to researchers and instructors about how achievement goals relate to student outcomes across learning conditions. By extension, we provide timely recommendations for instructors as they continue to wrestle with how to deliver their courses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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    Article (Published)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International