About the Center on Education Policy: The Center on Education Policy is a national, independent advocate for public education and for more effective public schools. The Center helps Americans better understand the role of public education in a democracy and the need to improve the academic quality of public schools. We do not represent special interests. Instead, we try to help citizens make sense of the conflicting opinions and perceptions about public education and create the conditions that will lead to better public schools.

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Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform

Author(s): Alexandra Usher and Nancy Kober
Published: May 22, 2012

This series of papers examines topics related to students’ academic motivation, a critical but often overlooked aspect of education. The summary paper, Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, pulls together research findings from the six background papers, each of which includes a brief overview of research findings, examples of current programs and policies, and implications for the future, offering a more in-depth look at specific themes surrounding student engagement, including: why motivation is important and how it might be defined and measured; whether rewarding students can result in higher motivation; whether students can be motivated by goal-setting; the role of parental involvement, family background, and culture; strategies schools might use to motivate students; and nontraditional approaches to motivating otherwise unenthusiastic students. The appendix outlines four major dimensions of motivation and how they are defined by major scholars in the field.

Download files:

Summary Paper - Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform (PDF format, 598 KB) * Direct link: http://www.cep-dc.org/cfcontent_file.cfm?Attachment=UsherKober%5FSummary%5FMotivation%5F5%2E22%2E12%2Epdf
Background paper 1 – What is motivation and why does it matter? (PDF format, 155 KB) * Direct link: http://www.cep-dc.org/cfcontent_file.cfm?Attachment=UsherKober%5FBackground1%5FMotivation%5F5%2E22%2E12%2Epdf
Background paper 2 – Can money or other rewards motivate students? (PDF format, 188 KB) * Direct link: http://www.cep-dc.org/cfcontent_file.cfm?Attachment=UsherKober%5FBackground2%5FMotivation%5F5%2E22%2E12%2Epdf
Background paper 3 – Can goals motivate students? (PDF format, 247 KB) * Direct link: http://www.cep-dc.org/cfcontent_file.cfm?Attachment=UsherKober%5FBackground3%5FMotivation%5F5%2E22%2E12%2Epdf
Background paper 4 – What roles do parent involvement, family background, and culture play in studen (PDF format, 172 KB) * Direct link: http://www.cep-dc.org/cfcontent_file.cfm?Attachment=UsherKober%5FBackground4%5FMotivation%5F5%2E22%2E12%2Epdf
Background paper 5 - What can schools do to motivate students? (PDF format, 237 KB) * Direct link: http://www.cep-dc.org/cfcontent_file.cfm?Attachment=UsherKober%5FBackground5%5FMotivation%5F11%2E19%2E13%2Epdf
Background paper 6 – What nontraditional approaches can motivate unenthusiastic students? (PDF format, 244 KB) * Direct link: http://www.cep-dc.org/cfcontent_file.cfm?Attachment=UsherKober%5FBackground6%5FMotivation%5F5%2E22%2E12%2Epdf
Appendix – Theories of motivation (PDF format, 69.4 KB) * Direct link: http://www.cep-dc.org/cfcontent_file.cfm?Attachment=UsherKober%5FAppendix%5FMotivation%5F5%2E22%2E12%2Epdf
Press Release (PDF format, 41.3 KB) * Direct link: http://www.cep-dc.org/cfcontent_file.cfm?Attachment=PressRelease%5FMotivation%5F5%2E22%2E12%2Epdf


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