[ANSWER] Can you fix this prospectus so it can be approved by the committee?

Question description

Is there a relationship between
students’ level of motivation to perform academically and students’ level of
academic performance in a language arts classroom?
EdD Doctoral
Study– Educational Leadership

Prospectus: Is
there a relationship between students’ level of motivation to perform
academically and students’ level of academic performance in a language arts
Problem Statement
A lack
of student motivation is a concern within public school districts in the
elementary, middle and high school classroom setting (Hossainy, 2012).  While a lack of student motivation is not
easy to define, it is easy to observe (Thoman, 2013).  Recent reports from educational researchers
within the US Department of Education recognize the unmotivated student as one
whose attitude toward school is a lack of interest or concern (NCES, 2010).  The lack of interest or concern is
demonstrated in the avoidance of school work and a level of disinterest in the
educational environment (Terry, 2010). 
national concern for a lack of student motivation within the educational
environment prompted an action plan for the development of a model of learning.
In 2010, educational researchers within the US Department of Education developed
an action plan known as The National Education Technology Plan 2010
(NETP).  The model of learning described in the action plan necessitates
the need for engaging and empowering learning experiences for all learners. The
model suggests that educators focus what and how they teach to match what students
need to know, how they learn, where and when they will learn, and who needs to
learn. The model was designed to incorporate state-of-the art technology into the
learning environment to enable, motivate, and inspire all students, regardless
of background, languages, or disabilities, to achieve, thus fostering
continuous and lifelong learning (NCES, 2010).
The National Center for School
Engagement (NCSE) partnered with school districts, law enforcements, the
courts, and state and federal agencies to support youth and their families in
improving student motivation and engagement within the learning
environment.  In an effort to improve
student motivation and resolve the issues concerning low academic achievement,
the purpose of the study was to examine how motivation is defined and how to
measure student motivation.  The study
used twenty-one instruments and focused on the age ranges of the participants
of the study.  Through data collection
analysis, researchers were able to identify a decline in student motivation at
both the middle and high school level (NCSE, 2009). 
more recently, the reports from educational researchers from state’s Department
of Education across the country has determined best practices in instructional
delivery as one of the essential components to motivating and preparing
students for college and career readiness. 
Results from the reports have acknowledged the significance of student
motivation for aiding student academic success in these college and career
readiness programs. From 2012-2014, educational researchers within state’s
Department of Education worked to develop an educational plan referred to as
Task Based Learning (TBL).  The framework
for TBL comprised of pre-task activities, a task cycle and language focus all
designed to provide instruction that is engaging and motivating.  The framework requires a shift from
student-based to task-based learning suggesting that educators create tasks
that prompt students to use and apply learning to 21st century
scenarios (The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, 2015).   
The U.S.
Department of Education reported on a study conducted by researchers from the
University of Western Sydney.  The focus
of the report was to bring awareness to the need to consider student
motivation, especially as it relates to male students.  The purpose of the project study performed by
researchers from the University of Western Sydney was to inform educational
best practices for teachers and to aid development of school curriculum
designed to address the needs of male students in the elementary and middle
grades.  Research participants consisted
of case studies from fifteen different schools. 
The conceptual framework of the study was developed by University of
Western Sydney researchers, Dr. Andrew Martin and Dr. Geoff Munns (Munns, 2004;
Munns & Martin, 2005) was the MeE Framework.  The Motivation, engagement, Engagement
Framework was used as part of the project analysis of student motivation and engagement.  Through data collection and analysis,
researchers were able to determine key psychological and sociological factors
that contributed to motivation in male students.  Some of the strategies identified included
learning environments in which students were given whole-class tasks to
complete and learning environments in which student motivation was a
school-based initiative (Munns & Martin, 2005).
 Currently, questions concerning why students
remain unmotivated in the classroom is a focus of recent educational research with
the state of Georgia (McQuown, 2011).  Educational
research within the Georgia Department of Education suggests that a lack of
student motivation may be associated with students’ intrinsic motivation to
perform well in the classroom and on high stakes assessments.  The reports from the educational research
indicate that whether intrinsic motivation was high or low for a student, there
was some bearing on student achievement being high or low for that student (Thoman,
2013).  Under the premise of student
motivation and accountability, the educational researchers within the Georgia
Department of Education (GADOE) worked to create a rigorous college and career
readiness curriculum (adapted from Common Core) along with a teacher effective
measurement system (TEMS) designed to ensure that instructional delivery was
engaging and motivating for all students. 
 Results from data collection of
state mandated high stakes assessments centered on standards-based
instructional delivery utilizing the rigorous curriculum and teacher
evaluations determined student achievement is linked to student motivation and
school accountability (Schraw, 2010). Data collection results also indicate the
growing concern regarding a lack of student motivation in the middle grades (6th-8th)
(GADOE, 2015). 
At the
local level, the concern of a lack of student motivation focuses on the middle
grades because the middles grades have proven to consist of being a pivotal
academic time for students in which assessment scores in content areas such as
language arts and classroom performance have a bearing on retention, classroom
placement and college and career readiness indicators at the high school level
(McQuown, 2011).  Public school systems
within the state of Georgia, such as, Atlanta Public Schools (APS), have worked
to analyze instructional best practices designed to motivate and engage
students in the content required for college and career readiness.  Unfortunately, many educators are not aware
of instructional strategies for measuring and fostering student motivation,
especially within the middle school classroom (APS, 2014).
rationale for the correlational study is to determine if there is a
relationship between student’s level of motivation and student’s level of academic
achievement in middle grades language arts classroom. 
The proposed
research study is significant because it has the potential to contribute to
existing theories on the correlation between levels of student motivation and
levels of student academic success. 
Those who will benefit from the study are students, teachers, school
administrators and school board officials. School board officials will benefit
from the study by gaining an understanding into what motivates students and
thus what them to make policy changes on curriculum mandates.  If school officials make policy changes to
curriculum design that takes student motivation into consideration, the
potential exists for a lack of student motivation to decrease. 
changes in school policies such as No Child Left Behind (2001), Common Core
(2009) and even more recently, Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (2012), school
board officials did not focus on student performance (Gemberling, Smith, &
Villani, 2009; Marzano & Waters, 2009).  Student academic achievement and student
performance was primarily under the guide of the state superintendent and staff.  The paradigm shift in school accountability
has moved toward localized control.  School
board officials now share in the responsibility of student learning and are
held accountable for student academic performance, most commonly through the
use of standardized testing (Gemberling et al, 2009; Marzano & Waters, 2009).
 Student performance results are often
reported to state authorities to determine if changes to the curriculum and/or
teacher training and evaluations are necessary. 
Additionally, performance results are shared with community members as a
way of determining the effectiveness of school and board leadership.
changes to the curriculum design that take student motivation into
consideration, teachers may be able to effectively implement strategies to
motivate students to learn.   Teachers’ abilities to motivate students to
learn has been termed teacher self-efficacy. 
Research studies
on teacher self-efficacy have used the conceptual framework of Bandura’s (1994,
2002) notion of self-efficacy.  Teacher
self-efficacy has been defined as the level of competency and level of
confidence a teacher has in his or her ability to promote students’ learning
(Bandura, 1994).
According to a research study
conducted by Skaalvik & Skaalvik (2010), teachers with high self-efficacy will
implement strategies to motivate students to learn such as providing
opportunities for student communication by using a variety of learning
strategies and tasks to meet the needs of all learners (working individually,
in pairs, and in groups).  Results from
the study also indicate that teachers with high level of self-efficacy are more
likely to divide the class into small groups rather than teaching the class as
a whole, thereby allowing the opportunity for more individualized instruction
(Tschannen-Moran, 2010)
Additionally, students will benefit
from a learning environment that fosters behaviors that contribute to
motivating students resulting in academic success.  According to Gardner’s motivation theory
(1985) students are motivated to learn and achieve when they perceive their
teachers care about them.  Findings from
the case study suggest the concept of teachers who care create learning
environments that promote democratic interaction styles, developing
expectations for student behavior in light of individual differences, modeling
a “caring” attitude toward their own work, and providing constructive
Researchers with Stanford
University also conducted a research study of a learning environment that takes
student motivation into consideration.  Results
from data collection of the case study of middle grades students showed
students benefited learning environments that take student motivation into
consideration.  Students benefit because
they are encouraged to understand the content. The learning environment and
instructional strategies were designed to treat students’ misunderstandings in
the subject and different visual aids were utilized in order to make the
subject more enticing and meaningful. Additionally, within the learning
environment, students were given opportunities to engage in conversations and were
given purposeful feedback rather than non-descriptive scores on assignments (Stipek
et. al., 2002).
More recently, researchers for the
National Education Association (NEA) conducted studies on 21st
century learners with regards to student motivation (NEA, 2013).  Research results indicate that a lack of
student motivation is more prevalent in non-lab content areas such as language
arts, thus, further research to gain knowledge of how to motivate students in
the non-lab content areas is significant. 
Knowledge of factors contributing to student motivation in the classroom
as it relates to academic success may prove useful in guiding decisions made
pertaining to curriculum and instruction (NEA, 2013The proposed research study is
significant in understanding the impact of student motivation on academic
achievement and posing questions to guide further studies concerning student
academic success.  Certainly, there is a
need to understand what motivates students to perform well in the classroom and
on high stakes assessments. 
Understanding what motivates students, how they are motivated and ways educators
can utilize motivational strategies within their instructional practice is
valuable in the field of education (NEA, 2013). 
Background Literature
trends such as accountability, college and career readiness, along with
motivating the 21st century learner have shaped the current focus of
curriculum standards and instructional delivery (NEA, 2013).  The U.S
Department of Education along with state Departments of Education researchers
work to develop curriculum standards with an emphasis on rigor and
instructional strategies that move students toward self-efficacy.  As part of the attempt to ensure that
students move towards self-efficacy, educational systems at the state and local
level also have a goal of ensuring that every child can learn (US DOE, 2011).
While the educational system at the national level is aiming towards ensuring
that students are successful, there is also a concern at the state and local
level that student motivation to perform at proficiency is declining (GA DOE,
2013).  Research studies within state
departments of education address the issues of moving toward self-efficacy,
increasing rigor in the classroom and increasing student motivation.
Student motivation defined
unmotivated student is one whose attitude toward school is a lack of interest
or concern.  The lack of interest or
concern is demonstrated in the avoidance of school work and a level of
disinterest in the educational environment (Terry, 2010).  Recognizing the unmotivated student requires
identifying the characteristics of a motivated student.  The motivated student is one who is not
afraid to try for fear of making mistakes. 
The motivated student will take risks and accept challenges versus
viewing the sometimes routineness of learning tasks, this student will think
outside of the box and produce work that is of quality.  The motivated student is also one whose
basic needs have been met thus equipping them to have a desire to learn and a
willingness to complete the tasks at a level of proficiency.  Conclusions from research suggest that
student motivation can be defined on the basis of factors that contribute to
motivation such as the students understanding that any amount of effort equates
to a positive outcome on learning (McTigue, 2011). 
What causes a student to be self-motivated?
question often asked in the learning environment is how I can motivate this
student to learn.  The answer stems from
the notion that the student must be self-motivated.  Self-motivation means that the student enters
the learning environment with a desire to be a part of the learning and willing
to contribute to their own academic success.
indicates that what motivates students to learn is a concept referred to as
“voice and choice.”  Another contributing
factor to student motivation is engagement and learning tasks that pique the
student’s curiosity.  Research studies
for varying grade levels concluded several key concepts that attribute to
student motivation.  The key concepts
include student “voice and choice”, how relevant the learning is to the
student’s interests, how involved the teacher is with the subject matter being
taught, significance of feedback, varying instructional delivery and how often
students are encouraged to complete tasks (Brophy, 2013) (Laskey, 2010).
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
schools of thought exist with regards to motivation.  In other words, there are two types of
motivated student.  One type of motivated
student is the one who is intrinsically motivated.  The intrinsically motivated student is the
one who wants to learn for the sake of learning.  Recognizing the intrinsically motivated
student requires looking at the student who set goals for themselves, wants to
be an integral part of the learning environment.  The intrinsically motivated student comes
prepared, seeks understanding and extends learning beyond the classroom.  Conversely, the extrinsically motivated
student is one who achieves for others. 
The extrinsically motivated student wants good grades to please parents
or receive some reward or tangible gift. 
While the extrinsically motivated student will come to class prepared,
the willingness to be a part of the learning environment is fostered by the
desire to receive a reward for being in the learning environment versus
contributing to the learning.
One key
concept states that when lessons appeal to a variety of learning styles and
consist of varying modes of instructional delivery, students are engaged
because they feel in control of their learning. 
Maurer, Allen, Gatch, Shankar,
and Sturges (2013) examine intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in students.  The participant group in the study consisted
of undergraduates in three different courses. 
The data collection instrument was archival data final course grades
along with results of the Academic Motivation Scale which included questions
about study habits and efforts.  The
implications of the results of the study indicated that each factor had a
significant impact on student motivation at varying degrees. 
and Liew (2011) examined student motivation in a language arts classroom.  The hypothesis of the study was the use of
research-based strategies that foster self-efficacy within the classroom could
also motivate reluctant middle school readers to perform in a language arts
(2012) interviewed Professor Allan Wigfield who serves as chair of the
Department of Human Development at the University of Maryland.  The interview focused on Wigfield’s research
on children’s motivation.  The conclusion
of the interview indicated that Wigfield’s studies determined that children’s
motivation was developed based on the expectancy-value model of motivation
and Erdem-Keklik (2012) expressed an opposing view of intrinsic and extrinsic
motivation.  Their study examined
motivation within the high school setting. 
A participant group of 318 high school volunteers completed motivational
and learning strategies questionnaires. 
Results of the questionnaires along with demographical data analyzed
through data collection instruments ANOVA and MANOVA indicated that student
motivation factors were limited to grade level.
Leaper and Brown (2012) examined student motivation when social and personal
factors were present.  A participant
group of 579 ethnically diverse teenage girls were selected for the study.  Participants completed a questionnaire about
their academic achievement, beliefs about their academic ability in
Math/Science based classes versus English (liberal arts) based classes and
values and experiences concerning school. 
The hypothesis in the study indicated that student motivation would vary
from a Math/Science based class in comparison to an English (liberal arts)
based class.  The implications of the
results of the study indicated that social and personal factors can have a
positive effect on student motivation.
Learning environments that motivate
a learning environment that motivates requires establishing what is known as
sustained motivation.  Achieving
sustained motivation requires a partnership between teacher and student.  While the teacher cannot make a student self-motivate,
an environment can be created that fosters natural self-motivation.  The motivating environment would provide
opportunities for students to feel a sense of autonomy, a sense of a connection
to the classroom and school and a sense of being capable of to master the
challenges of school.
research has determined that teacher-student relationships while establishing a
motivating learning environment are a factor in student motivation to perform
within the classroom and on high stakes assessments.
(2011) inquired through the use of the exploratory research design method the
question of whether or not the curriculum is the problem, solution or both to
factors relating to student motivation. 
The purpose of the study was to examine whether or not “way-in” books
are an effective means to supplement curriculum requirements to motivate
students in the middle school language arts classroom.
Little (2012) analyzed the curriculum framework compared
to gifted student motivation.  The
implications of the results of the study concludes with findings to answer the
question of which strategies and learning environments best motivate students
receiving advanced learning instruction.
Thoman, Smith, Brown, Chase and Lee (2013) examined the
correlation between student motivation and stereotyping.  The study focuses on how stereotyping of
underrepresented and over-stigmatized students effects their motivation in the
classroom and beyond.  The significance
of the study expressed the connection between self-efficacy and feelings of a
sense of belonging to the learning environment. 
Participants in the study were observed over long periods of time and it
was determined that positive or negative experiences within the learning
environment had a lasting effect on student motivation.
McQuown (2011) examined factors that contributed to
student academic success.  The study
participants included six fifth grade students who took part in pullout
enrichment activities.  Students selected
for the study were ones who at the start of the experiment lacked motivation
and focus.  Data was collected in the
form of teacher observations, student surveys, and tests.  Results of the study were used to indicate
whether or not being placed in an enrichment room was essential enough in
increasing motivation and focus to yield student academic success.
Hossainy, Zare, Hormozi, Shaghaghi and Kaveh (2012)
conducted a study with a university undergraduate participant group of
thirty-four randomly selected psychology majors.  The purpose of the study was to test the
hypothesis that situated learning would increase learning and student
motivation.  The data collection process
consisted of archival data from school achievement tests and
questionnaire.  The implications of the
results of the study indicated that situated learning did increase learning and
motivation when compared to lecture-based learning.
Boz, and Erdur-Baker (2012) investigated the use of case-based learning (CBL)
versus traditional chemistry instruction as a means of increasing student
motivation.  The participant group of
forty-five 10th grade high school chemistry students was randomly
selected.  25 students were a part of the
experimental group (case-based learning) and 20 were a part of the control
group (traditional instruction).  As part
of the study, both groups were given pre and posttests along with classroom
instruction.  The data collection
instrument used to determine the results was a one-way MANOVA and a motivation
questionnaire.  The implications of the
results of the study indicated that the use of CBL students showed gains in
test scores and the questionnaire indicated that those experimental group
participants were more motivated to learn in the classroom.
Kucuk and Sahin (2013) examined the concept of learning
centers in the context of a learning community as a means of increasing student
motivation.  The conceptual framework
examined in the study was the Community of Inquiry (CoI) Framework as both a
face to face and a blended (online and face to face) learning model.  The participant group consisted of 109
undergraduate students who took part in the face to face (control) or blended
(experimental) learning model.  As part
of the data collection process, students were given pre and posttests and an
analysis of the content being delivered was conducted.  Based on the results of the study, data
collected did not indicate a significant difference in control group versus
experimental group academic success; however, there was some significant
difference in student motivation.
explained in a research study the impact of incorporating photo journals as
part of learning tasks within all content areas.  The study’s participant group consisted of
randomly selected middle school students who were identified as being reluctant
learners.  The study results were used to
indicate the implications of utilizing photo journals as a learning tool and
the impact they had on students, teachers and researchers.
Schmidt, and Zaleski (2013) discussed in their research study the correlation
between student motivation and academic success during lab activities versus
other classroom activities.  The
participants in the study were high school students.  Each student was observed and work for the
learning task was analyzed.  Results of
the study showed a comparison between student engagement and motivation when
completing a lab-based activity versus a lecture-based activity.  The results were also used to determine the
increase in student learning was more present during lab-based activities as
compared to lecture-based activities.
Velez and Cano
(2012) described the correlation between verbal and nonverbal cues and student
motivation.  The purpose of the study was
to examine the relationship between the importance of the task as related to
students through verbal and nonverbal cues from the teacher compared to student
motivation to complete the task. The significance of the study was to
demonstrate to teachers that there was a positive relationship between verbal
cues of the importance of the task and the increase in student motivation.  The results of the study indicate the more
teachers express the importance of a learning task; the more likely students
were motivated to complete the task.
Ziegler and Moeller (2012) examined
self-regulating learning.  The purpose of
the study was to determine if the incorporation of portfolio-based assessments
would increase self-regulated learning. 
The participant group consisted of 168 undergraduate students in either
a French or Spanish class.  The research
design was quasi-experimental and was conducted over one semester.  Students were given pre and post
questionnaires to determine whether or not the incorporation of portfolios
motivated students to actively participate in the learning process.  The data collection results were used to
analyze student performance on the portfolio assessments versus student
performance on unit tests.  The
implications of the study results promote the use of portfolios to aid in
student self-regulated learning.
According to the literary review,
teacher-student relationships are also essential in providing instructional
strategies that motivate students to achieve self-efficacy.  The research provides insight into the use of
instructional strategies.  Instructional
strategies are designed to provide learning experiences that include rigor to
move students toward self-efficacy and performing at proficiency on high-stakes
assessments.  In terms of student
motivation, the literature review describes studies that determine the need for
instructional strategies that provide students with choice and a voice as to
the learning experiences they take part in.
The theoretical framework for this
study will be Maslow’s Motivation Theory (1954).  Maslow’s theory addresses both extrinsic and
intrinsic motivation based on a hierarchy of needs.  Maslow’s theory is relevant in education due
to the desired goal of wanting all students to learn.  Based on the framework of Maslow’s theory, both
extrinsic and intrinsic motivation would exist for students whose needs were
being met.  In a classroom setting, these
needs may consist of a student feeling safe and accepted in the learning
environment along with the sense that their voice will be heard, they have
choices, they understand what they gain from what is being required and they
sense that the teacher is also invested in their learning.   
The conceptual framework for this
study will be the self-efficacy model (Bandura, 1977).  Bandura’s theory is relevant in education
based on the belief that individuals have the ability to exhibit behaviors that
yield successful performance.  The
self-efficacy model is based on the belief in one’s own abilities to understand and
complete a task aside from intrinsic or extrinsic motivation (McTigue, 2011).
Both the theoretical and conceptual
frameworks explanation of the need for student motivation in a middle grades classroom
presents a validation that a lack of student motivation in a middle grades
classroom is an educational concern.  The
concern stems from a rise in increasing school accountability and school
improvement.  Studies indicate that there
is an impact that high stakes assessments has had on student achievement.  Research also indicates the results of the
effect of high stakes assessments on student achievement are linked to student
motivation and school accountability. 
Research question (quantitative)
Is there
a relationship between students’ level of motivation and students’ level of academic
success in middle grades classrooms?
Null Hypothesis
There is
no relationship between students’ level of motivation and students’ level of academic
success in middle grades classrooms. 
Alternative Hypothesis
There is
a positive correlation between students’ level of motivation and students’
level of academic success in the middle grades classrooms.

Research Methodology and Design
A correlational research design will
be used for this study.  Utilizing a
quantitative research approach is beneficial for the purposes of this study.  Quantitative research tests and validates
already existing theories about how and why a phenomenon occurs.  In general, a correlational study is a
quantitative method of research in which the researcher has two or more
quantitative variables from the same group of subjects, and they are trying to
determine if there is a relationship (or covariation) between the two variables
(a similarity between them, not a difference between their means).  In theory, any two quantitative variables can
be correlated (for the purposes of this study, students’ level of motivation
and students’ level of academic success) as long as the researcher has scores
on these variables from the same participants. 

The researcher must take into
consideration that it is not feasible to collect and analyze data when there is
little reason to think these two variables would be related to each other.  Another factor in increasing the validity of
the research is to have at least thirty participants.  In a correlational research design, the
researcher’s hypothesis will be that there is a positive correlation (for the
purposes of the proposed study, students’ level of motivation and students’
level of academic success), or a negative correlation (for the purposes of this
study, students’ level of motivation and students’ performance on high stakes
assessments).  In a correlational
research design, a positive correlation would be an r = +1.0 and a negative
correlation would be an r= -1.0, while no correlation would be r = 0.  In a correlational research design, perfect
correlations would almost never occur with the exception of correlations much
less than + or – 1.0.  The researcher
must take into consideration that correlation cannot prove a causal
relationship, however, it can be used for prediction, to support a theory, or to
measure test-retest reliability. 
Additionally, the researcher may collect
data through testing (for example, performance scores on a state mandated
assessments such as district Benchmarks, or psychological tests such as
motivational level indicators, numerical responses

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