Journal of STEM Teacher Education


The purpose of this study was to determine if high school students’ academic preparation was correlated with change in motivation during an engineering design challenge. The research was conducted in a high school classroom in which elements of engineering design were taught in a technology education context to eleventh-grade student from diverse academic backgrounds (measured by grade point average [GPA]). Participant motivation was assessed by the California Measure of Mental Motivation (CM3). The CM3 measures student motivation to apply critical thinking skills and reasoning to solve problems in five subscales: mental focus, learning orientation, creative problem solving, cognitive integrity, and scholarly rigor. Findings of this study suggested that knowledge of students’ GPA served as a predictor of student motivation. With the exception of the mental focus subscale, growth over time was not related to GPA. Change across multiple time points in the other four subscales of learning orientation, creative problems solving, cognitive integrity, and scholarly rigor did not show significant correlation with mathematics, science or communication GPA.