Often, elective programs such as art and physical education are the first items cut when middle school budgets become strained. The American Educational system places higher value on core curriculum classes such as math and science and there has been little research done on the importance of electives for student achievement. This thesis seeks to explore the benefits of elective courses for student achievement and a student’s education in general. The two motivational theories used to explore the relationship between electives, student achievement, and student motivation are Social Learning Theory and Job Characteristics Theory. A survey was sent out to a select sample of middle school administrators in Colorado to obtain rich qualitative data on the topic of electives in the middle school curriculum. The surveyed schools varied from high achieving schools to low achieving schools (achievement measured in standardized test scores) and across different districts in Colorado. The data was analyzed and found to be consistent with many of the characteristics of Social Learning Theory and Job Characteristics Theory.
Bachelor of Arts
Includes bibliographical references.