Motivating factors influencing students who attain valedictorian or salutatorian status.
AuthorAhnert, Sharon Fitzpatrick.
AdvisorClark, Donald C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study was undertaken to explore the motivational factors which influence students who attain valedictorian or salutatorian status. The study employed quantitative data to assess differences between the valedictorian and salutatorian and the top quartile of the class in one school in the Midwest in the categories of absences and test scores and qualitative data based on the interviews of the top two students from the last 19 years to investigate participant's views on intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors. For the quantitative portion of the study, raw data consisting of MPA (Mark Point Average), days absent, and local percentile on standardized achievement tests were collected from students' cumulative record files. The null hypothesis that the mean number of absences for the Valedictorians/Salutatorians and Upper Quartile students was equal was rejected at the.05 level of significance. The null hypothesis that the mean Normal Curve Equivalent test scores for the Valedictorians/Salutatorians and Upper Quartile students were equal was rejected at the.001 level of significance. For the qualitative section, interviews were conducted with the top two students from each of the 19 years of the study. A common coding system was developed, and information was coded using the categories. The protocol included questions on general motivation, parents, teachers, peers, school climate, and personal feelings regarding the attainment of academic success. Additional questions were posed on choice of college, present career, and post-high school motivators. The qualitative section of the research revealed that the high achievers expressed an innate desire to learn and to use their innate drive to get a job done. In addition to intrinsic motivation, extrinsic factors were explored. Parental interest, encouragement, expectations, and the provision of a nurturing home environment were noted. Academic, inspirational, interpersonal, and managerial qualities of teachers were cited. Most high achievers questioned indicated that their friends were academically oriented. In terms of the acceptance aspect of school climate, the population experienced belongingness and nonacceptance. The academic climate was explored, emphasizing praise and reward. Interviewees additionally spoke of their personal feelings when academically successful, post secondary education, career status, and current motivators.
Degree ProgramTeaching and Teacher Education