Publication Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)


Middle school is a paradox. Students want nothing more than autonomy, while classrooms become more structured and demanding. With the increased structure, however, are increased expectations for the students to determine what to do and when to do it, on their own. This rapid increase in personal responsibility creates confusion in an already tumultuous time in their lives, and a common retaliation, out of fear, apathy, or simply not knowing, is to do nothing. It is a given that students differ in their motivation to learn, and tapping each one of those sources becomes, in effect, a quest for the academic holy grail. Knowing that students are prone to confusion and certain gaps in their transitioning thought processes in middle school, and that kids respond readily to their own ideas, why not utilize a process of self-evaluation which lays out guidelines, but requires the responsibility to assess and improve their own work? This was the basis of my research. Utilizing portfolios, rubrics, and the multiple ability levels of my students, I wanted to see if this sort of guidance and awareness would effectively increase their intrinsic motivation.


Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Junior High, Intermediate, Middle School Education and Teaching