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DFG Research Project - MOVE: Interindividual differences in motivational characteristics of students

Combined perspectives of Expectancy-Value Theory and Dimensional Comparison Theory

Motivational characteristics play a central role in students' learning, competence acquisition, and future study and career choices. The development of motivational characteristics over the course of schooling varies greatly among students. However, there are only few studies that examine interindividual differences in the development of motivational characteristics in different subjects. Moreover, little is known about the importance of students' perceived teaching quality characteristics and individual characteristics such as gender or socioeconomic status as well as their intersections for interindividual differences in the developmental trajectories of motivational characteristics.

Based on the theoretical foundations of Expectancy-Value Theory of Eccles & Wigfield (2020) and Dimensional Comparison Theory (Möller & Marsh, 2013), the research project MOVE uses secondary data analyses to investigate the interindividual differences in motivation trajectories of secondary school students in various subjects. We use data from the BiKS longitudinal study ( as well as data from the longitudinal LISA study ( Both data sets are derived from the Research Data Center of the Institute for Quality Development in Education (IQB) ( Our project also addresses the importance of instruction-related and individual factors for different motivational trajectories of students.

The results of this project will contribute to a better understanding of interindividual differences in motivation across various domains. In addition, the research project also considers practical implications for adaptive teaching that takes into account different motivational learning conditions.

Research questions

  • What different motivational trajectories can be identified in mathematics, German and reading throughout lower secondary school?
  • How are individual characteristics such as gender, socioeconomic status, and their intersections related to such trajectories?
  • How is perceived teaching quality related to interindividual differences in motivational development?
  • What are the relationships between interindividual differences in motivational development and competence gain as well as students' choice behavior?

Further Information

Funding: This project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG -Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) under grant number LA 3522/10-1.

Duration: May 2022 - April 2025

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Rebecca Lazarides

Project manager: Dr. Wendy Symes

If you have any questions about this project, or would like further information, please contact Dr. Wendy Symes: symesuni-potsdamde