Previous studies in education have inspected the relations between students’ autonomous versus controlled motivation and relevant outcomes. In most of those studies a global index of self-determined motivation was created. The purpose of this article was to examine (a) how the different types of motivation proposed by Self-Determination Theory combine into distinct profiles as identified by cluster analysis and (b) the links between those profiles and objective criteria of achievement. In Study 1, motivation toward physical education was assessed at the beginning of a 10-week gymnastics teaching cycle, and performance was assessed at the end of the cycle among a sample of high school students (N =
210). Study 2 (N = 215) extended Study 1 by controlling students’ initial performance, measuring the effort they exerted and recording their grades. Cluster analyses revealed three motivational profiles: self-determined, non-self-determined, and moderate levels of both types of motivation. Path analysis showed that the self-determined profile was related to the highest achievement. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for the assessment of students’ motivation and the consequences of motivational profiles for educational outcomes.
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