Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Jacob Hall, Ph.D


This mixed methods action research study investigates the potential effects of student choice on motivation and academic performance in writing-based assignments in a fourth-grade classroom. Baseline data was collected prior to implementation of student choice writing activities and then used to compare writing samples collected post intervention. The baseline data suggests that students’ attitudes towards autonomy are positive. Having choices was important to them and helped them learn better. However, data also indicates that while students were motivated to write using choice, many of the reading and writing competency scores dropped during journal entry writing samples. Data shows that while students were able to increase the “elaborate on ideas” column on the grading rubric for student choice writing samples, the spelling, mechanics, and structure scores often fell at or below their previous grades for teacher assigned writing samples. This suggests that students may need additional writing strategies and/or interventions when given choice in assignments.