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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Motivational Profiles: Predicting Intention to Persist to Complete a Bachelor's Degree in a For-Profit University
by Pugh, Carol, Ph.D., Northcentral University, 2018, 155; 10743332
Abstract (Summary)

The topic of this study was student motivation and intention to graduate at a for-profit university. The research problem addressed is only 23% of bachelor’s degree-seeking students at for-profit universities persist to graduate within six years. Students who leave without graduating incur more debt and earn less money over time. Grounded in an integration of self-determination theory and the theory of planned behavior, the purpose of this quantitative, casual comparative study was to predict student intention to persist to graduate based on motivational profiles. Cluster analysis revealed two distinct motivational profiles (internally motivated and externally motivated) of 158 students at an online, private, for-profit university. Differential tests indicated attitude and subjective norms were significantly different between the two profiles. The significant differences between the two profiles offers support for the multidimensional nature of motivation as argued by self-determination theory. Therefore, is recommended that future research adopt a person-centered approach in investigating student motivation. However, no differences were found between motivational profiles and intention to graduate. Regression analysis confirmed motivational profiles did not predict intention. The lack of difference between motivational profiles and intention challenges the integration of self-determination theory and the theory of planned behavior. Since all students in this study had high levels of intention to graduate, but only 31% are graduating at this university, it is recommended that future research use a longitudinal approach to investigate the sustainability of distinct motivational profiles. The results offer insights into the motivations of bachelor’s degree seeking students attending a for-profit university. Over two-thirds of the students in this study exhibited external forms of motivation. It is recommended practitioners employ methods to increase autonomous forms of motivation in the online, for-profit educational setting.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Vance, Joanna
School: Northcentral University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 79/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education, Adult education, Educational psychology, Higher education
Keywords: Academic Motivation Scale, For-profit education, Motivation, Motivational profiles, Self determination theory, Theory of planned behavior
Publication Number: 10743332
ISBN: 978-0-355-61427-5
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