Enthusiastic Students: A Study of Motivation in Two Alternatives to Mandatory Instruction


  • Donald Berg Reed College
  • Jennifer Henderlong Corpus Reed College


alternative education, democratic education, home school, motivation, self-determination theory


The present study used Self-Determination Theory as a framework for examining age-related changes in motivation for 57 students aged 7-17 years in the context of two alternative educational environments: a home school resource center and a democratically organized school. Students completed the Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire in order to assess their intrinsic motivation and three types of extrinsic motivation. In stark contrast to the well-replicated negative correlation between age and intrinsic motivation in traditional schools, there was no relationship between age and any of the four motivation subscale scores in the present study. Interpretations and implications of these findings are discussed.


Author Biographies

Donald Berg, Reed College

Psychology Department

Jennifer Henderlong Corpus, Reed College

Psychology Department


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