Ward, Jonathan Neal
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This study utilized a causal-comparative design as a means to collect quantifiable information from participants to compare the level of intrinsic motivation of high school students in required classes with the level of intrinsic motivation of high school students in elective classes through the lens of Self-determination Theory. The results of the study indicated that the participants displayed a statistically significant higher level of intrinsic motivation in elective classes when compared to required classes. Moreover, there was a statistically significant higher level of intrinsic motivation in classes in which students demonstrated personal choice in the selection process regardless of whether the class was required or elective. Intrinsic motivation can be a valuable tool in increasing the academic achievement of students. There are opportunities to increase the level of intrinsic motivation of secondary students by enhancing the contextual factors that effect intrinsic motivation. These contextual factors include choice, autonomy, relationships, and competence. Intrinsic motivation can be a catalyst to overcoming many of the challenges that face our educational system.