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Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Leadership and Policy

First Advisor

Roger DeMont


This study compared student attitudes toward school as a measured by the Student Attitude Inventory-Revised (McInerney, Yeung, & McInerney, 2000) between Talent Search program participants and middle school students who chose not to participate in this program. Recent attention regarding the impact of early intervention programs on college entrance rates of middle school students warranted the exploration of the impact of such programs on middle school students. A total of 196 middle school students, including 87 in the Talent Search group and 109 in the comparison group, participated in this study. This study incorporated a nonexperimental, descriptive research design that used the Inventory of School Motivation-Revised (ISMR; McInerney & Sinclair, 1991) as the primary data collection tool. This instrument measured students' perceptions of mastery, performance, social concern, sense of purpose, self-concept, and general motivation. Students also completed a demographic survey. The students were enrolled in nine middle schools in the same large urban school district. Three research questions were posed for this study. Each question was addressed using inferential statistical analyses, with all decisions on the significance of the findings made using an alpha level of .05. Middle school students in the Talent Search program did not differ from students in the comparison group in terms of goal orientation and general motivation. Students' self-reported academic achievement was similar in both groups. The third research question could not be addressed as students in the study generally did not participate in a substantial number of extracurricular activities to make a determination on which types they preferred. The conclusions that could be raised from this study were that middle school students have lacked the sufficient experience with the program to have it provide motivation for school and education: Suggestions for further research included using the same instrument with high school students in the program to determine the effect of participation in a program, such as Talent Search, can motivate students to perform academically.

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