Improving Students' Performance By Implementing Motivational Learning Strategies And Constructivist Teaching Methods

Date of Graduation

Summer 2004


Master of Natural and Applied Science in Agriculture


College of Agriculture

Committee Chair

Janice Greene


A longstanding question of educators is "Why are some students motivated to learn while othere are not?" And "How can teachers guide students into improving their performance?" In an attempt to answer these questions, motivational learning strategies and constructivist teaching methods were used on twenty-four students in grades nine through twelve who attended normal Physics I and Physical Science classes at Nixa High School for nine months. The Perceived Motivational Climate Student Survey is designed to measure a student's perceived mastery/task orientation or ego/performance orientation. It was administered in the Physics I class to measure the student's perceived motivational climate of the class and showed that there was not a change in the students' perception of the climate from the beginning to the end of the year. The Force Concept Inventory was administered to measure the student's improvement of basic physics principles, pre and post. This part of the study showed a 23% increase of the students' understanding of physics principles. The last part of the study involved implementing TARGET learning strategies to improve the chapter test and semester grades of two struggling Physical Science students. By overwhelming percentages (10% and 16%) both students improved their semester grades. Overall, this study showed that significant improvements can be made in high school science students' performance by using cost-free motivational learning strategies and constructivist teaching methods.


Perceived Motivational Climate, Force Concept Inventory, TARGET (Task, Authority, Recognition, Grouping, Evaluation, Time), modeling, CASTLE (Capacitor Aided System for Teaching and Learning Electricity)

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© Michelle Wityk