Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Rhonda Jeffries


One of the most important tasks of schools is to foster and grow the achievement motivation of students. However, middle school is a time period which frequently sees a downturn in students’ levels of engagement. In this action research study, the causes of this downturn in motivation are investigated by drawing out the voices of the students themselves regarding their educational experiences and viewpoints. Using the expectancy-value theory as the primary lens, the researcher employed a mixed-methods approach to investigate the causes of declining academic motivation at his school through the perspectives of three students with exceptionally high levels of achievement motivation, and three students with exceptionally low levels of achievement motivation. By drawing out the voices of these students regarding their experiences and ideal futures, this study aimed to inform and recommend future interventions at the middle school level.