Often underachievers appear to be unmotivated to complete their schoolwork or to engage in classroom activities. Let us begin by reframing this problem as a general question. What motivates a person to put forth effort to accomplish a given task? There are 2 basic reasons that a person engages in an activity. Either the person enjoys the activity, or the person values the outcome or byproduct of the activity in some way. For example, Fred might study Social Studies because he enjoys learning about history whereas Rico might study Social Studies because he wants to get a good grade in the class. Fred studies because he finds the class INTERESTING; Rico studies because he finds the class USEFUL.
Some students underachieve in school because they do not value the outcomes of school, nor do they enjoy completing schoolwork. To reverse underachievement that stems from an apparent lack of motivation, we must first determine how to build value into the student’s scholastic experiences. The purpose of the goal valuation intervention is to increase the motivation and achievement values of underachieving middle school students.
This intervention consists of two distinct components:
- First, we suggest general classroom strategies that you can use in your classroom with all students to increase the intrinsic and utility value of your class. We also offer suggestions about how to effectively administer rewards in a classroom setting.
- The second (and perhaps most important) part of the intervention consists of individual conferences with the underachieving student. You are expected to meet with the student individually for 15-20 minutes a week throughout the course of the intervention. During these short meetings, you will help the student to develop achievement goals. These weekly meetings are the heart of this goal valuation intervention.