Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2008

Thesis Advisor(s)

Del Siegle

Honors Major



Education | Educational Psychology


Based on a review of literature of conceptual and procedural knowledge in relation to intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, the purpose of this study was to test the relationship between conceptual and procedural knowledge and intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Thirty-eight education students with a mathematics focus (elementary or secondary) in their junior, senior, or fifth year completed a survey with a Likert scale measuring their preference to learning (conceptual or procedural) and their motivation type (intrinsic or extrinsic). Findings showed that secondary mathematics focused students were more likely to prefer learning mathematics conceptually than elementary mathematics focused students. However, secondary and elementary mathematics focused students showed an equal preference for learning mathematics procedurally and sequentially. Elementary and secondary students reported similar intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Extrinsically motivated students preferred procedural learning more than conceptual learning. While there was no statistically significant preference with intrinsically motivated students, there was a trend favoring preference of conceptual learning over procedural learning.

These results tend to support the hypothesis that mathematics focused students who prefer conceptual learning are more intrinsically motivated, and mathematics focused students who prefer procedural learning are more extrinsically motivated.