Intrinsic Motivation and Academic Achievement

In 1996, Poonam C. Dev conducted a thorough literature review of research on the interventions and measures used to enhance and assess academic intrinsic motivation in students with learning disabilities (LD).   Before this paper, entitled Intrinsic Motivation and the Student with Learning Disabilities, only four reviews of research in the 16 years prior to its publication even touched on academic intrinsic motivation in students with LD, and not one looked at this issue specifically.  Dev notes that these studies did not answer three key questions regarding: a) the measures used to assess intrinsic motivation in students with LD, b) effective ways to enhance intrinsic motivation in these students, and c) how academic achievement is affected by attribution training.  

In her review of the literature (14 studies between 1974 and 1996), Dev found that intrinsic motivation is highly correlated to academic achievement in students with learning disabilities.  She also discovered that, if students can be trained to attribute their successful performance outcomes to their own effort (as opposed to external factors), they are more likely to have higher academic intrinsic motivation.  According to Dev, intervention programs designed to increase academic achievement in students with LD must have a motivational component to address the importance of intrinsic motivation in academic success.  She also calls for more reliable assessment procedures to further examine academic intrinsic motivation, as well as further research in this area.  

This literature review was the first to specifically address intrinsic motivation in students with LD, and brought together the contributions of a number of prominent researchers in the field.

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© Rose Atkins 2009