Findings From a Pilot Study Examining the Positive and Negative Achievement Emotions Associated With Undergraduates’ First-Year Experience

Allaire / Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice / October 2019

are you first gen

Research shows that undergraduate students’ achievement emotions are critical in determining motivation and success in higher education. This article reports on the results of a pilot study using the Achievement Emotions Questionnaire involving 10 (n = 10) mostly ethnic minority undergraduates at an urban 4-year university. In general, findings reveal increases in feelings of hope, hopelessness, and boredom as well as decreases in enjoyment throughout students’ first-year experience. Students’ positive and negative emotions impact their perceptions of both their classes and instructors and affect their motivation, on-task behavior, and academic success. These results also compare and show significant differences in the emotions associated with the first-year experiences of immigrants, Hispanic, and first-generation students as compared with their citizen, non-Hispanic, and nonfirst-generation peers, respectively. These findings paint an intimate portrait of the narrators’ experiences and the impact that emotions had on their motivation and achievement during their first year in college.