Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Joan Gipe


Teachers struggle to address motivation and its impact on reading achievement and the continued desire to read, even with first-grade students. The theoretical framework for this study was based on Bandura's social cognitive theory of self-efficacy, which pertains to how individuals feel and think about themselves and the way they self-motivate; it was also based on Skinner's operant theory, which maintains that a student can be motivated by positive reinforcement. A quasi-experimental design was used to examine the impact of 3 motivation conditions (intrinsic, extrinsic, or a combination of both) on the reading achievement and oral reading fluency of 66 first-grade students. The students in 3 intact classrooms were assigned as 3 different treatment groups, each representing a separate motivation condition. The dependent variables were reading achievement and oral reading fluency. Data were pretest and posttest scores on reading achievement and oral reading fluency measures. Students in 2 of the 3 groups graphed their oral reading fluency (words read correctly per minute), which supported the intrinsic motivation condition of goal setting. Similarly, students in 2 of the 3 groups received rewards, which defined the extrinsic motivation condition. After 8 weeks of treatment conditions, posttest scores were compared with pretest scores as a covariate. An analysis of covariance showed no statistically significant differences in reading achievement between the 3 motivation conditions. Further analysis revealed a statistically significant difference in oral reading fluency favoring the intrinsic motivation intervention group. The findings suggest that 8 weeks may not be sufficient for students to benefit directly from any specific motivation condition, but suggest that engaging students in goal setting may improve reading achievement and eventual literacy.