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This paper considers what factors influence student interest, motivation, and continued engagement. Studies show anticipated extrinsic rewards for activity participation have been shown to reduce intrinsic value for that activity.

This paper considers what factors influence student interest, motivation, and continued engagement. Studies show anticipated extrinsic rewards for activity participation have been shown to reduce intrinsic value for that activity. This might suggest that grade point average (GPA) has a similar effect on academic interests. Further, when incentives such as scholarships, internships, and careers are GPA-oriented, students must adopt performance goals in courses to guarantee success. However, performance goals have not been shown to correlated with continued interest in a topic. Current literature proposes that student involvement in extracurricular activities, focused study groups, and mentored research are crucial to student success. Further, students may express either a fixed or growth mindset, which influences their approach to challenges and opportunities for growth. The purpose of this study was to collect individual cases of students' experiences in college. The interview method was chosen to collect complex information that could not be gathered from standard surveys. To accomplish this, questions were developed based on content areas related to education and motivation theory. The content areas included activities and meaning, motivation, vision, and personal development. The developed interview method relied on broad questions that would be followed by specific "probing" questions. We hypothesize that this would result in participant-led discussions and unique narratives from the participant. Initial findings suggest that some of the questions were effective in eliciting detailed responses, though results were dependent on the interviewer. From the interviews we find that students value their group involvements, leadership opportunities, and relationships with mentors, which parallels results found in other studies.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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