College Students` Intrinsic Motivation and Grades

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The goal of this study was to research the relationships among intrinsic motivation and grades of university students. College students who are intrinsically motivated have a number of advantages such as finding working on an academic task is enjoyable and interesting. Interest and satisfaction are the ideal sources of motivation in the college classroom (Lei, 2010). Intrinsic motivation is associated with personal interest that provides deeper cognitive engagement (Pintrich & Schunk, 1996). The most critical factor involved with intrinsic motivation is self-determination. Self-determination is used interchangeably with the concept of autonomy (Ryan & Powelson,1991). Studies illustrated that students who are intrinsically motivated for doing school work and are more autonomous are more likely to stay in school and to achieve than are students with less self-determined type of motivation (Deci, Vallerand, Pelletier & Ryan, 1991). This paper has focused on the conditions that influence the intrinsic motivation and college grades with the illustration of theorists` research studies. Keywords: Intrinsic Motivation; Self-Determination; Interest INTRODUCTION

Knowledge about the nature of students` motivation has increased over the past four decades. During the past half century, beliefs, values and goals related to performance of college students, choice of activities and academic persistence have been examined. Although students have strong belief about their competent, they will not complete an activity without incentives (Lei, 2010). College students learn new knowledge and skills with two major categories, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Both type of motivation have different effect on student learning and performance at the college level. The objective of this study is to evaluate the benefits intrinsic motivation in relation to student achievement and performance. Motivation is defined as “an internal state that arouses learners, steers them in particular direction and keeps them engaged in certain activities.” Continuity of an activity is in charge of motivation (Lei, 2010). Intrinsic motivation of enjoying a specific activity may lead a person to spend many hours in that activity. Many educators support the benefit of intrinsic motivation, and they recommend that the joy of the learning should be students` reason for working on hard tasks. Intrinsic motivation is referred to interest in the task itself. (Ferguson,2002). There is evidence showing that intrinsic motivation is positively correlated with learning and negatively correlated with anxiety, depression and frustration. From the perspectives of collage instructors, intrinsically motivated students work on academic tasks because they find them enjoyable and interesting (Lei, 2010). Intrinsically motivated college students engage in activities that enhance learning such as attendance to class and actively participation in discussion. There is reciprocal relation between learning and intrinsic motivation. These students do not to be forced to pay attention on a task because they experience pleasure in working on a task and become successful at high levels. They work on a college level task without external reinforcements because they are satisfied with undertaking a personal challenge and learning something new that interest them. Furthermore, Csikszentmihalyi have proposed that college students would experience flow, “an intense involvement in an activity when challenges of this activity are equal to the skills and expertise of individuals”. Flow results in optimal motivation and deep cognitive involvement. Therefore, flow is positively related with high intrinsic motivation and excellent academic performance. Apparently, intrinsic interest and satisfaction are the ideal sources of motivation in the college classroom (Lei, 2010). Intrinsic...
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