School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Chris Taylor


basic psychological needs, effectance, elementary school, motivation, self-determination, student engagement


Education | Educational Psychology | Psychology


Based in Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and Effectance Theories, this correlational study of student engagement assessed the impacts of basic psychological need satisfaction upon engagement in the context of prior achievement during late elementary school. The purpose of the study is to offer another tool for educators to use as they continue personalizing interventions. Multiple regression analyses assessed the predictive value of prior achievement levels alongside present satisfaction levels of each basic psychological need – autonomy, competence, and relatedness – upon engagement. In post-hoc analyses, The Johnson-Neyman technique was also used for the purpose of determining regions of significance across the sample of prior achievement, showing the specific levels of prior achievement at which each basic psychological need significantly predicted student engagement. The RAPS-SE survey was used for measuring basic psychological need satisfaction and engagement. Scores from PARCC exams were used for measuring prior achievement. The multiple regression analyses yielded statistically significant, high predictive values. Additionally, the post-hoc analyses yielded significant outcomes relevant to the moderating value of prior achievement and gender differences relevant to that moderating value. Suggestions for future research include additional studies on basic psychological need satisfaction relevant to their interaction with prior achievement, longitudinal impact, the differential impact of basic psychological need satisfaction among subgroups, and relevance to engagement during the late elementary years.