The effectiveness and relative importance of choice in the classroom.

The effectiveness and relative importance of choice in the classroom.

Patall, Erika A.; Cooper, Harris; Wynn, Susan R.

Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 102(4), Nov 2010, 896-915.
doi: 10.1037/a0019545


  1. This investigation examined the effects of providing choices among homework assignments on motivation and subsequent academic performance. Students were randomly assigned within classrooms either to receive a choice of homework options or to be assigned an option for all homework in one instructional unit. Conditions were reversed for a second instructional unit. Results revealed that when students received a choice of homework they reported higher intrinsic motivation to do homework, felt more competent regarding the homework, and performed better on the unit test compared with when they did not have a choice. In addition, a trend suggested that having choices enhanced homework completion rates compared with when no choices were given. In a second analysis involving the same students, the importance of perceived provision of choice was examined in the context of student perceptions of their teachers’ support for autonomy more broadly defined. Survey data showed that the relationship between perceptions of receiving autonomy support from teachers and intrinsic motivation for schoolwork could be fully accounted for by students’ perceptions of receiving choices from their teachers. The limitations and implications of the study for research and practice are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)

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