Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Pamela Scott

Committee Members

Ginger Christian, William Flora


This qualitative study examined educators' perceptions of motivational strategies influencing and motivating middle school students to comprehend and perform in mathematics courses. This study used interview data from 15 participants with 2 to 30 years of teaching experience. Educators may utilize this information in multiple settings within the classroom to influence and motivate students in mathematics courses.

Data collection strategies included one-on-one semi-structured middle school educator interviews. Analysis of data occurred in three phases: (a) categorization of data under the five organizational factors, (b) building the explanation in narrative form, and (c) re-examination of the data. The analysis of the phenomenological study data was based on the theoretical framework of the achievement goal theories - the differences in how people judge their perceptions of competence (Nicholls, 1984) and TARGET structures (Task, Authority, Rewards, Grouping, Evaluation, and Time) (Epstein, 1989). The credibility of the analysis was protected by triangulation of data through multiple sources of evidence, establishment of a chain of evidence, and member checking.

The results revealed that current and innovative motivational strategies influenced students in middle school mathematics. The results revealed how educators motivate middle school students through traditional and non-traditional strategies. Five themes emerged from the interview data analysis that contribute to the motivation of middle school students: (1) internal motivation, (2) external motivation, (3) building thinking classrooms, (4) student choice, and (5) building relationships.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.