Previous studies suggested that students with special educational needs (SEN) in the primary and secondary schools were fragile in self-efficacy and low in academic motivation. Nonetheless, more and more students with SEN completed secondary education and pursue their study at the tertiary level. Past research suggested that students with SEN spent additional efforts in coping with the academic stress in higher education and their self-concepts were adversely affected. This study examined the academic motivation and academic self-concept of students with SEN in higher education. A total 91 students with SEN and 458 students without SEN participated in this study. Among students with SEN, 27.5% of them were classified as Type I disabilities (Physical and sensory impairments), 53.8% as Type II disabilities (learning difficulties and developmental disabilities), and 18.7% as Type III disabilities (mental and emotional problems). Inconsistent with findings on students in primary and secondary schools, students with SEN in higher education were found to be high in both intrinsic and extrinsic academic motivation, and low in amotivation. Compared with their peers without SEN, students with SEN were higher in intrinsic academic motivation (p < .05) though their academic self-concept was lower (p < .01). Students with Type I disabilities were lowest in amotivation and highest in academic self-concept among students with SEN. The findings indicated that type of disability should be considered when comparing academic motivation and academic self-concept between students with and without SEN. Implications of the findings for support services and suggestions for future studies were discussed.
Hoi Nga Ng, Caritas Institute of Higher Education, Hong Kong
Kam Weng Boey, Caritas Institute of Higher Education, Hong Kong
Chi Wai Kwan, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong