Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Marie Simonsson

Second Advisor

Dr. Anita Pankake

Third Advisor

Dr. Shirley Mills


The purpose of the study was to describe and compare if self-determination factors differed in first and non-first generation college students and success levels. Additionally, comparisons of college readiness levels were measured, and finally a measure of factors that contribute to college success based in first and second semester grade point averages were investigated using multiple linear regression analysis. Using a Self-Determination Theory framework of human motivation, helps identify a basic psychological need for autonomy as a central feature for understanding effective regulation and well-being (Moller, Ryan, & Deci, 2006). The target population in this study was 1,586 returning students of the 2008 freshmen cohort for the University of Texas Pan American in the Fall of 2010. About 10% or 187 of the returning students completed the Academic Motivation Scale survey. However, after additional information were collected only 146 subjects had usable data for all variables. A number of group comparisons were made based on college generation, success as measured by first and second semester college grade point averages, and college readiness as measured by ACT composite scores. The comparisons yielded no differences in motivation with the exception of intrinsic motivation, to experience stimulation, where successful students showed higher motivation than less successful students. This phenomenon was only apparent the second semester of college attendance, not the first semester. The overall descriptive analysis indicates that there are very few differences in intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in these groups of students. Multiple linear regression analyses revealed that external regulation (external motivation) contributed with 5.8 percent of the total variance in grade point average for the first semester, toward accomplishment (intrinsic motivation) contributed with 4.7 percent, and the ACT composite score contributed with an additional 3.9 percent of the total variance in first semester grade point average. The variables that explained the amount of variance in second semester grade point average were to know (internal motivation) with 2.7 percent, and external regulation (extrinsic motivation) with 3.6 percent.


Copyright 2012 Manuel Ochoa. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American