Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Roger R. Ries


The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between academic intrinsic motivation and positive teacher verbal feedback, negative teacher verbal feedback, and student aptitude for academic work. The research questions evolved from the Cognitive Evaluation Theory of Edward Deci (Deci & Ryan, 1985) in which intrinsic motivation develops out of a sense of competence and self-determination. In that teacher verbal feedback to students provide messages about academic competence, it was hypothesized that positive verbal feedback would enhance intrinsic motivation and negative verbal feedback would be detrimental to intrinsic motivation.;The subjects for the study were 368 fourth and fifth grade students. Student academic intrinsic motivation was measured by a questionnaire developed by Harter (1981). Aptitude was assessed with the Cognitive Abilities Test (Thorndike & Hagen, 1985). Negative and positive teacher verbal feedback reactions were determined by classroom observers who coded all teacher verbal feedback reactions to the students in accordance with the observation system developed by Brophy and Good (1969). Through factor analysis the positive feedback factor and the negative feedback factor were formed from the verbal feedback categories loading with those factors.;Results revealed that both aptitude and positive verbal feedback correlate positively with academic intrinsic motivation. Aptitude for school work, positive verbal feedback, and grade level contributed about 8% of the total variance of intrinsic motivation. Negative verbal feedback did not contribute to the prediction of the level of intrinsic motivation. Due to the low level of variance attributed to these factors, conclusions which could be drawn are limited. However, it was suggested that in addition to studying factors influencing the sense of competency, classroom factors which would contribute to a sense of autonomy need to be included in future studies.



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