Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies

Committee Chair

Marcia Gentry

Committee Member 1

Nielsen Pereira

Committee Member 2

Amy Gaesser

Committee Member 3

Yukiko Maeda

Committee Member 4

Kristina Ayers Paul


This mixed methods research investigated the relationship between student and teacher perceptions of five motivational components of instruction—appeal, challenge, choice, meaningfulness, and academic self-efficacy—and how teachers’ knowledge of their students’ perceptions informed their reflection on the quality of instruction. The Student Perceptions of Classroom Quality (SPOCQ; Gentry & Owen, 2004) and Teacher Perceptions of Classroom Quality (T-POCQ; Seward, 2016) survey results of students with gifts and talents (n = 306 for a total of 518 administrations of the SPOCQ) and teachers (n = 23 for a total of 39 administrations of the T-POCQ) who participated in a summer academic enrichment program were analyzed. Significant negative but weak correlations existed between these two groups in appeal and meaningfulness, and their perceptions did not significantly correlate on challenge, academic self-efficacy, and choice. The strengths of all five correlations are weak. Ten teachers who represented various demographic groups participated in guided reflection interviews during which teacher and student survey results were compared. Teachers who did not hold degrees in education and/or lacked previous teaching experience felt a tension between content and motivation, viewing teaching as delivering content efficiently, not necessarily motivationally. All teachers perceived that they provided choice but were surprised when their students’ perceptions suggested otherwise, causing them to reevaluate their actual use of choice in instruction. Overall, teachers valued the addition of the student perspective during their reflections, indicating that it shifted their focus away from the content and learning activities toward the social-emotional aspects of learning. In addition, teachers valued guided reflection with a supportive peer as it kept them focused, helped them “think through” the data, and provided a sounding board for potential instructional improvement. Implications for instructional practices and professional development in other K-12 settings are discussed in the summary.