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Enhancing Performance and Motivation in Lower Secondary Education


Lindy Wijsman
30 May 2018
PhD Defence

This dissertation concerns the development of motivation and performance of students in grade 7 to 9 in secondary education. It took place in the context of GUTS (Differentiated Challenging of Talent in School). This innovation focused on enhancing performance and motivation through (1) ‘talent lessons’ to challenge students in their favoured subjects, and (2) an increased performance standard. Four studies are included in the dissertation: (1) development of report card grades between grade 7 and 9; (2) the relation between motivation and performance in students’ favoured and disfavoured subjects; (3) student perceptions of the talent lessons in relation to motivation for this subject; and (4) motivation and performance from grade 7 to 9 of students in GUTS compared to various comparison groups. We found a declining performance trend and a varying relation between motivation and performance in favoured and disfavoured subjects. Additionally, students perceived the talent lessons to be autonomy-supportive and structured, and these motivating aspects showed transfer to motivation for the subject. Finally, students in GUTS showed higher levels of performance and motivation than comparison groups, and at the same time showed a similar decline in performance and motivation.

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