Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2013

Course Name



Kenneth Cabell, Jaan Valsiner


Researchers throughout the years have been challenged to go beyond aspects such as environment and socioeconomic status in the search for school-level characteristics that make a difference in student achievement. The purpose of this study was to examine the factors that play a role in how students develop their personal source of motivation, and consequently, how it pushes them to succeed academically. Through interviews with student volunteers, undergraduates and graduates were asked about their personal journey to defining academic success for themselves, and how their cultural background and values have both affected this pathway to such a development. How they narrated where their motivation to succeed comes from was the root of the study, as this would help determine the structures of life-course movement through a grade-oriented schooling throughout high school and now in college. Data derived from the interviews revealed several different trajectories of such academic development, which was a result of such a wide range of participants, in terms of their own backgrounds and cultural and family histories.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.