Motivational Predispositions and Cognitive Activation

Knowledge about the European Union in Political Education: What are the Effects of Motivational Predispositions and Cognitive Activation?

This study investigates the effectiveness of political science classes in Germany. In treatment and control groups, it analyses whether or not 1071 students in the 9th and 10th grade showed differences in knowledge increase after participating in the lesson series. This analysis focuses on the competence dimension “subject-specific content knowledge” as well as on the motivational predispositions “academic self-concept” and “interest in politics”. It will also examine the instructional characteristics “inclusion of students” and “cognitive activation” from the students’ perspective. One’s academic self-concept and interest in politics, as well as cognitively activating instruction have a moderately positive effect upon educational success. The aspect social inclusion correlates with all constructs except subject-specific content knowledge. Academic self-concept and subject interest are important predictor variables for experiencing oneself as competent.


Weisseno, G. & Landwehr, B. (2015). Knowledge about the European Union in political education. What are the effects of motivational predespositions and cognitive activation? McGill Journal of Education/Revue des sciences de l’éducation de McGill, 50, 2/3, pp 413-432. (referiert) pdf knowledge European Union