Spring 2021

Document Type

Master's Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Teacher Education


Maintaining student motivation in mathematics increases the likelihood of long-term academic success. A key component to building motivation is having perceived control over a task. Students who maintain perceived control exhibit greater task engagement, motivation, and exhibit lower levels of stress and anxiety in that task (Bandura, 1989; Schunk, 2012; Skinner, 1990). This six-week study investigated the relationship between student choice and motivation in mathematics instruction, by affording students an individual choice of their instructor in their mathematics course. A quasi-experimental pretest-posttest two group design was implemented using a sample of Integrated Mathematics II high school students. Student motivation to study mathematics was measured by The Motivation for Mathematics Abbreviated Instrument (MMAI; Butler, 2016), a psychometric motivational scale for students in developmental Algebra courses. Students in the intervention group were presented an individual choice: to remain in the current class meeting and follow the lesson instruction with their math instructor, or choose to leave the meeting and join an alternative, yet identically paced class meeting taught using a pre-recorded video lesson of a different instructor. Independent and paired t-tests were conducted to determine the change in student motivation across and within groups. The intervention group exhibited a larger increase in mean scores compared to the control group; however, this change was not statistically significant. Further research should investigate other means of providing student autonomy in a mathematics classroom.