The Effects of Self-Management and Self-Management with Goal Setting on Student Apathy

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Spring 2015


Many educators express that school apathy is a moderate to severe problem in today???s schools. Motivation has shown to decrease as early as third grade and continues to decline until high school. Despite these findings, little research exists regarding student apathy in elementary and middle school. The literature that exists on student apathy deals primarily with secondary and post-secondary students but offers explanations that can be applied to pre-adolescent students, such as academic pressure, a low socio-economic status (SES), and a reduced sense of self-efficacy. The literature is rich with studies on self-efficacy and many have offered interventions that support the increase of self-efficacy, including self-management and goal setting. In addition, self-management and goal setting have been shown to increase time on-task, work completion, motivation, engagement, and achievement. The current study explored the effects of an electronic self-management and an electronic self-management with goal setting intervention on student apathy, work completion, and self-efficacy in fifth and sixth grade students, as well as adds to the literature that exists on student apathy and self-efficacy. The study employed an experimental design with random participant assignment to either a delayed-treatment control, self-management only, or self-management with goal setting group. The study also examined the impact of SES and disability on the intervention outcomes through descriptive analyses. The results indicated that no significant differences were found in increasing academic motivation ratings by teachers, reducing observed displays of apathy, or increasing self-efficacy survey scores by students. Significant differences in work completion across time periods were found, but no statistical difference was found between groups. Positive findings were noted in students who participated in the free or reduced lunch program; however, further research is warranted before conclusions can be drawn. A discussion of the factors that influenced results is presented, as well as limitations, and implications for practice. In addition, suggestions for future research are offered.


Beth A. Jones

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Psychology | Special Education and Teaching