One of the responsibilities of this blog is to troll for interesting or useful research articles about student motivation. This morning, I found one while trolling on the American Educational Research Association site. Titled "Students' Motivation for Standardized Math Exams," the article examines how individual differences in motivation and psychological processing affect performance on high-stakes math assessments. It evaluates how factors such as achievement goals, self-concept, and test anxiety are related to student performance. Among other interesting information, the piece includes excerpts from interviews with 8th graders about high-stakes math tests. "Usually tests make me nervous," says one student. "Kind ...


Guest contributor Ann Bradley, an assistant managing editor here at Education Week, often talks about the trials and tribulations of motivating her children to do well in school. This past weekend, she witnessed the poignancy of what really motivates kids. Here's Ann's story: "My 12-year-old son spent the weekend working on a project for his 7th grade Spanish class. They're studying the names of school-related items, like staplers and pencils, and they have to make a locker and fill it with 10 things, all correctly labeled. They also have to write numerous sentences explaining what is in the locker and ...


The transcripts of chats on edweek.org are a treasure-trove of practical tips, well-informed insights, and strong opinions. So if you missed the last chat, "Tough Choices: Preparing Students for Global Competition," check it out. Our featured guests were former Boston schools superintendent Thomas W. Payzant and Marc S. Tucker of the National Center on Education and the Economy. This transcript is worth reading because it raises some important questions related to student motivation. At one point in the discussion, Payzant wonders if our country has the will to improve its education system. He recalls a recent trip to China: "Last...


The Boston public schools have decided to let students from 10 high schools sleep a little later Monday through Friday, according to All About BPS, a district-sponsored blog written by the schools' chief communications officer. Educators, policymakers, and researchers should keep a close eye on these experiments in letting high school kids sleep a little longer, especially if they result in higher levels of achievement. There is already some research available on the effect of school start times on student performance. Undoubtedly, I would have been a strong advocate for the validity of this research when I was in high ...


Thanks to the PEN Weekly NewsBlast for pointing us to a part of the College Board's Web site that asks the question: Are you a helicopter parent? The College Board then offers up an interactive quiz to evaluate if you fall into this category of parenting. The quiz is geared toward parents of high school students who are looking at colleges, so I'll have to wait a few more years before I can take it. But if your children are juniors or seniors in high school, you should take the quiz--even if it might tell you something about yourself you ...


An Indiana University study released last week (sorry for the late notice) suggests that 2 of every 3 high school students are bored in at least one class every day, and 17 percent say they suffer daily boredom in every class. The top two reasons they cite for their boredom are they do not find the material they are studying interesting or they feel it isn't relevant to their lives. What's going on here? Are these kids a bunch of lazy, disengaged whiners? Or do schools need to to a better job making learning interesting and relevant?...


Should pizza be used to motivate students to read more? An Associated Press story about Pizza Hut's Book It program, which rewards young readers with free pizzas based on the number of books they read, says critics of the program are concerned that it contributes to poor eating habits and encourages kids to read lots of easy books, rather than fewer, more difficult ones. Company officials claim that Book It is the nation's largest reading motivation program, reaching roughly 50,000 schools across the country, and turning many non-readers into readers. They also discount the idea that Book It is ...


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