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Background. This study seeks to examine a multidimensional model of student motivation and engagement using within- and between-network construct validation approaches.

Aims. The study tests the first- and higher-order factor structure of the motivation and engagement wheel and its corresponding measurement tool, the Motivation and Engagement Scale – High School (MES-HS; formerly the Student Motivation and Engagement Scale).

Sample. The study draws upon data from 12,237 high school students from 38 Australian high schools.

Methods. The hypothesized 11-factor first-order structure and the four-factor higher-order structure, their relationship with a set of between-network measures (class participation, enjoyment of school, educational aspirations), factor invariance across gender and year-level, and the effects of age and gender are examined using confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling.

Results. In terms of within-network validity, (1) the data confirm that the 11-factor and higher-order factor models of motivation and engagement are good fitting and (2) multigroup tests showed invariance across gender and year levels. In terms of between-network validity, (3) correlations with enjoyment of school, class participation and educational aspirations are in the hypothesized directions, and (4) girls reflect a more adaptive pattern of motivation and engagement, and year-level findings broadly confirm hypotheses that middle high school students seem to reflect a less adaptive pattern of motivation and engagement.

Conclusion. The first- and higher-order structures hold direct implications for educational practice and directions for future motivation and engagement research.