The Relation between Motivational Patterns and Achievement Cognitions through the Elementary School Years.
Among children in fifth and higher grades, the helpless motivational pattern is associated with the idea that intelligence is a fixed entity. Cognitive concommitants of helplessness in younger children, however, are not well understood. To identify developmental relations between motivational patterns and cognitions about ability and achievement, 139 first, third, and fifth graders' beliefs about ability and achievement were assessed, as well as their motivational responses to challenging puzzles. A sizeable minority of children at all ages showed the maladaptive helpless pattern (nonpersistence, negative expectations, etc.). Among older children, the helpless and mastery orientations were associated with differences in whether intelligence was seen as fixed or malleable. Younger children with the helpless pattern gave outcome-oriented explanations for school grades, whereas those with a mastery orientation gave process-oriented explanations