Capstone/Dissertation Title

Motivation of At-Risk Students: An Examination of Self-Determination Theory Through Intrinsic Motivation


Fall 12-11-2014



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Susan Manikowski

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Steven Kuntz

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Jill Cihak


The research question addressed is, how can an English student be motivated to succeed in a high school ALC classroom? This capstone focused on self-determination theory developed by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan using the specific suggestions of Barbara Mushinski Fulk to implement intrinsic motivation. Two English classes in an alternative high school setting were studied using goal setting, introduction of units, ownership of work, flexible sequencing and due dates, and encouragement of students through one on one conferences. Research discovered that although student’s grades did not increase, the motivation and attitude towards classroom activities did improve.


At-risk Students, Motivation

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