Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

First Advisor

Barbara Zwadyk

Abstract

This research investigation examined the effectiveness of Brainology © , an online/classroom based curriculum, targeted to increase student motivational behavior and academic achievement. Five middle schools within an urban school district in the piedmont region of North Carolina participated in this study. Seventh-grade students and their teachers were the targeted sample (N=684).

A number of school motivational constructs were measured (mindset, effort beliefs, academic self-efficacy, interest and engagement in science, motivation in science, and use of study skills strategies). Teacher ratings of student motivational behavior were used and student academic achievement in math and science was calculated by quarterly grades and interim math assessments. ANCOVAS were run on all constructs to determine if statistically significant changes occurred to the intervention group. Correlations were run to determine the relationship among constructs. A path analysis prediction model was run to determine which model was the best predictor of student achievement outcomes.

This study found no significant changes in students' mindsets, effort beliefs, academic self-efficacy, and use of study skills strategies for learning. Results showed that the full implementation treatment group showed a positive increase in science engagement and motivation. Students in the partial treatment group used significantly less rehearsal learning strategies by the end of the program. All students showed significant changes in science quarter grades over the course of this study. The survey pre and post data and the focus-group dialogue with students and teachers were analyzed and summarized to obtain insight as to the overall impact of the intervention on participants. This study suggests that further study is needed to determine the effectiveness of interventions that improve student motivational and achievement outcomes.