Preferred Name

Katie Kelley

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Tiffany Hornsby

Tammy Gilligan

Kristina Doubet


Student motivation and the impacts of the school environment on it have been heavily researched. However, motivation during the COVID-19 pandemic has not been studied in detail due to the recency of events. To understand how the pandemic impacted student motivation, this study applied the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) in understanding how motivation functions through three pieces: autonomy, competence, and relatedness (Deci & Ryan, 1985). This current study examines students’ perceived motivation in virtual and hybrid instruction during a pandemic from students’ perspectives. It used surveys from a similar study with the addition of qualitative questions about instructional strategies (Edwards, 2009). These strategies were used by their math teachers, and the study gathered information about what students remembered and what they thought were motivating strategies. Competence, autonomy, and relatedness were not found statistically significant when compared with grades. Qualitative data revealed what strategies students remembered and which ones they found motivating. Future studies should focus on how grade inflation impacts level of motivation compared to achievement. When applied to the practice of school psychology, this study adds more understanding of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the learning environment and student motivation.



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