Center on Education Policy Newsletter
Author(s): Alexandra Usher and Nancy Kober
Published: May 22, 2012
This series of papers examines topics related to students’ academic motivation, a critical but often overlooked aspect of education. The summary paper, Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, pulls together research findings from the six background papers, each of which includes a brief overview of research findings, examples of current programs and policies, and implications for the future, offering a more in-depth look at specific themes surrounding student engagement, including: why motivation is important and how it might be defined and measured; whether rewarding students can result in higher motivation; whether students can be motivated by goal-setting; the role of parental involvement, family background, and culture; strategies schools might use to motivate students; and nontraditional approaches to motivating otherwise unenthusiastic students. The appendix outlines four major dimensions of motivation and how they are defined by major scholars in the field.