"I am the Master of My Fate”: Professors and Teenagers Conduct Action Research on Student Motivation

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2012

Publication Title

Washington State Kappan: A Journal of Research, Leadership, and Practice




In the fall of 2011, two university professors, a high school teacher, and 22 high school students agreed to work on a research project to investigate the effects of an educational reform model on student academic motivation. Working together bi-weekly over the course of a year, the group has engaged in developing research questions and proposals, designing methods to investigate questions, collecting data at the school, and analyzing data to produce final senior projects. This paper documents the four phases of the project and discusses insights and challenges faced at each stage. The paper concludes with a general discussion on how the action research has challenged students, contributed to a school reform effort, connected school and university contexts, and significantly enhanced the authors’ work as teacher educators. The paper argues that projects like this should be an integral part of the work of teacher educators.