RELATE TO MOTIVATE: AN INVESTIGATION OF AN ONLINE INTERVENTION GEARED TOWARD INCREASING MOTIVATION AND COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS IN STUDENTS FROM BACKGROUNDS OF POVERTY
Duvall, Natalie RW
MetadataShow full item record
Students from low socioeconomic statuses are faced with a double bind. Not only are they often in settings with limited resources, but they face an academic achievement gap from their wealthier peers which often keeps them from advancing out of their situations. As discovered in a needs assessment completed at a private residential school serving students from backgrounds of poverty, students do not lack academic motivation. However, the literature indicates that students in poverty are often stifled by obstacles not found in the lives of their middle and upper class peers. Many times these students do not have workable goals and usable perceptions of their future selves. Additionally, it is common for students in low socioeconomic statuses to misinterpret obstacles as signs of failure. While a motivational theory like the Self-Determination Theory might be enough when used with students from higher socioeconomic situations, when the complications of the socioeconomic achievement gap is factored in, extra tools are needed. The Self-Determination Theory discusses how to get a student motivated, but it doesn’t address the needs students have once they are motivated to overcome things like the aspiration/expectations gap. To help students merge their aspirations and expectations, they need to utilize Possible Selves Theory to help spur them toward achievement. However, students in this demographic need more than just hoped-for or feared possible selves, they need help creating strategies to make their goals a reality. For that reason, mental contrasting, which stems from Fantasy Realization Theory, is one potential strategy method. Thus these three theories are the basis for this dissertation’s intervention. In an attempt to discover one way to offset these obstacles, this researcher created an online intervention that not only had students respond to prompts about possible future goals, but receive change-oriented feedback from teachers. This four-week, mixed methods, quasi-experimental study used convenience sampling to analyze the impact the aforementioned intervention on student success indicators. Quantitative data was derived from pre- and post-tests gauging motivation, feelings of competence, and perceptions of future selves. Teacher measures were focused on perceptions of students and teacher efficacy. Additionally, the researcher derived qualitative data from students’ and teachers’ written responses as well as two focus groups. Though the sample was small, this intervention showed a significant impact on students’ perceptions of future selves. Additionally, statistical significance was found in relationship to students’ feelings of competence and future success. Qualitative analysis then suggested that this intervention has the potential to positively increase students’ college and career readiness and success. The researcher believes that data indicates the usefulness and applicability of this intervention in the goal to negate some of the obstacles that lead to the achievement gap. Future research should seek to eliminate the limitations associated with the pilot nature of this program while it is utilized in various settings and situations.