Spring 2018

Document Type

Master's Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Teacher Education


The United States of America’s educational system came under fire in 1983 when the National Committee on Excellence in Education published its report “A Nation at Risk” critiquing the system’s failings and calling for a raising of standards (Goldberg & Harvey, 1983). Since the report, the nation has seen wide-sweeping attempts at educational reform such as No Child Left Behind and the Common Core State Standards. Despite more school accountability and increased rigor there are districts, counties, and states that are witnessing a decline or lack of improvement in student achievement (Betts, Young, Zau, & Bachofer, 2016). A multitude of studies discussed in this paper have found that engaged students generally perform better academically, and that motivation is a key factor in student engagement. This study utilized a quasi-experimental quantitative design using the six subscales related to student motivation on the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ; Pintrich, 1991) to measure the effectiveness of the WhyTry intervention ("WhyTry Resilience Education", 2017) for a control and treatment group of 9th grade English classes. WhyTry ("WhyTry Resilience Education", 2017) is a modular program designed to help students over obstacles in life and raise their academic motivation (“WhyTry Resilience Education”, 2017). Independent and paired t-tests were conducted to determine if the intervention was successful in improving the motivation of the treatment group. Ultimately the results were inconclusive. This study reinforces the call for more research on interventions aimed at raising student academic motivation and thus their level of academic achievement.