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updated 7:27 AM +06, Sep 22, 2017

Key sources of academic motivation among students at Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana



This study aimed to explore key sources of academic motivation among secondary school Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana (NISA) students.The study was carried out at Nazarbayev Intellectual School in Astana and qualitative research design was used with focus group and semi-structured interview instruments. The findings of this study showed that teacher, parents and peers act as a key source of academic motivation of students, while peers contribute to increasing academic motivation by acting as role models and by promoting academic competition. Furthermore, students value school resources and school design raises their mood to learn. Last, students’ goals and personality stimulate them to learn.

Key words: academic motivation, motivation to learn, secondary education, NISA, Kazakhstan.

The Kazakhstani education system has undergone major educational reforms and the country is trying to save itsnational identity as well as implement best practices of leading international countries in the sphere of education. For this purpose, the country promoted the creation of the platform known as Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools that aims to test and adapt to the Kazakhstani context the best programs from foreign countries. NIS is the platform through which best practices are spread to mainstream schools. NISA is one of twenty schools established by the government, and follows International Baccalaureate Program and different from mainstream school with selection process of students and teachers and by providing students with all necessary staff for free. The purpose of the study is to identify the key sources influencing students’ academic motivation at secondary school students of NISA.It is believed that a better understanding of this phenomenon would allow educators to enhance secondary school students’ motivation to learn.

Theoretical background

As defined by Daft (as cited in Singh, Singh, & Singh, 2011, p.133), motivation means power either within or external to a person that inspires and arouse persistence to pursue exact, necessary actions in the context of learning. It is an energy that leads the learning. However, it does not only gear to activate learning; it is also a tool to sustain learning over time and has an important influence on a learner’s attitude and learning behavior (Ryan &Deci, 2000).There are various types of motivation and academic motivation of students is one of them. Academic motivation has been defined as an “enjoyment of school learning characterized by a mastery orientation; curiosity; persistence; task-endogeny; and the learning of challenging, difficult, and novel tasks” (Gottfried 1990, p. 525). Therefore, individuals with positive academic motivation are devoted to learn and admire learning-related activities, and consider the school as the most important place (Brown, 2009).

There are broad school related and non-school related factors which influence students’ academic motivation, such as parental aspirations (Hill et al., 2004), teacher teaching style (Lamport, 1993), teacher-student interaction (Rugutt&Chemosit, 2009), learning environment (Ames, 1992). It is vital to recognize the importance of each these sources in order to improve students’ academic motivation further.As a result of the literature review, one of the school-related factors as teacher was viewed by majority of the authors as key determining factor for students’ academic motivation. Moreover, peers, school resources and school design influence academic motivation was illustrated from various perspectives. Also, non-school related factors as parents, goals and personality were discussed in different literatures and parents was the most influential factor.


A qualitative research approach was used to explore student’ perception of sources influencing the academic motivation in this study.In particular, a qualitative interview-based research design and purposive sampling were employed. Five male and six female NIS students from the ages of 14-15 years were selected as participants of the study. They were divided into the groups of five girls, three boys; one boy two girls; two boys one girl and one individual interview. Overall, 11 participants from NISA secondary school were interviewed in a small focus groups and one of the students was interviewed individually. All collected data was analyzed by coding in order to categorize important ideas according to research questions and literature.


This study identified main seven findings. They are divided into school-related factors as teacher through providing positive feedback and encouraging students by appropriate teaching strategies; peers who serve as model and competitive opponent; school resources that facilities students’ to extend their knowledge and school colored design and comfort that actives students desire to study. As well, non-school-related factors as parents are one of the main sources through encouraging and rewarding students’ achievements; students’ goals and personality that keep their motivation and help to progress.


The purpose of this study was to identify the key sources of academic motivation among students at NISA.Teacher was identified as a key source of academic motivation considering all efforts and contributions to learning of students by the perception of this study’s participants. Correspondingly, it was highly appreciated and valued by students to be successful in their academic life. Teacher manages it through positive feedback, encouraging learning environment which include student-centered teaching. Additionally,study participants perceive their peers as one of important influential source of academic motivation. Mainly, they motivate each other by competing with each other, which fosters them to be academically competent in their learning environment. Moreover, parental involvement in student’s academic life by rewarding their efforts, acting as motivator agents through providing advice and support contribute students’ academic motivation is also a key source of academic motivation. Last, future goal setting stimulates students to be competent in specific subject areas. Overall, all findings mentioned above were identified as key sources of academic motivation, because they directly influence students’ motivation. However, other findings such as resources, school design and personality were identified as supporting sources, because they facilitate or foster students’ motivation at NISA.

Laura Abdezimova,

Nazarbayev Intellectual school of Astana



Ames, C. (1992). Classrooms: Goals, structures, and student motivation. Journal of educational psychology, 84(3), 261.

Brown, M. B. (2009). Academic motivation: Strategies for students.Communiqué Handout, 38. Retrieved from http://www.nasponline.org/publications/cq/pdf/CQ_V38N1_Academic_Motivation_Parents.pdf?origin=publication_detail

Gottfried, A. E. (1990). Academic intrinsic motivation in young elementary school children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(3), 525.

Hill, N. E., Castellino, D. R., Lansford, J. E., Nowlin, P., Dodge, K. A., Bates, J. E., & Pettit, G. S. (2004). Parent academic involvement as related to school behavior, achievement, and aspirations: Demographic variations across adolescence.Child development,75(5), 1491-1509.

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Rugutt, J., &Chemosit, C. C. (2009). What motivates students to learn? Contribution of student-to-student relations, student-faculty interaction and critical thinking skills. Educational Research Quarterly, 32(3), 16-28.

Ryan, R. M., &Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 54-67. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/ceps.1999.1020

Singh, S., Singh, A., & Singh, K. (2011). Academic Motivation among Urban & Rural Students: A Study on Traditional vs Open Education System in India. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 12(4), 133-146.