This study sought to explore difference in the influences of components of Self-Determination Theory between students of average and high academic ability. Differences were examined using correlational comparisons, t-tests, and analysis of variance (ANOVA). As expected, students with high academic ability reported high perceptions of competence. Although other mean differences were not significant, relationships between the variables showed interesting results. Significant correlational differences were found between the relationships of Perceived Competence and Teacher Control, Intrinsic Motivation, and Boredom. Teacher Control also had significantly different relationships with students’ engagement between the two groups. The study adds to the understanding of Self-Determination Theory by providing additional context in which to examine how individuals may use their inner resources differently.

Author Information

Dr. Antonia Szmanski is an assistant professor in the School of Teacher Education at Western Kentucky University. Please address all correspondence to email: Antonia.szymanski@wku.edu.