Because of its relationship to perceptions of competence, learning, and
achievement, as well as other affective outcomes, sustaining academic self-regulation is
key to reversing the concerning trend of declining academic achievement in the United
States. According to self-determination theory, satisfaction of three basic psychological
needs (autonomy, competence, and relatedness) supports students’ internalization and
development of self-regulation. The current study uses this lens to investigate the
influence of environment-based education on secondary students’ basic psychological
needs and academic self-regulation. While literature suggests that environment-based
education uses pedagogy that would seem to foster satisfaction of the basic psychological
needs (Lieberman, 2013), there is not yet research that examines self-determination
theory in the context of environment-based education. Sixty-five students in grades six
through twelve from five Midwestern U.S. high schools participated in the study. Data
collection occurred during the 2018-2019 school year, with six months of existing
environment-based education programs serving as the treatment. Students’ scores on the
Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire (SRQ-A) and the Need Satisfaction and
Frustration Scale (NSFS) assessed academic self-regulation and basic psychological
needs, respectively. Data triangulation occurred through observations and student
interviews. When controlling for age, gender, and prior participation, one-way repeated
measures analyses of covariance (ANCOVAs) indicated no significant difference in preand
post- test scores for academic self-regulation, need satisfaction, and need frustration.
In light of the typical decline in children’s academic self-regulation and need satisfaction,
these results support the use of environment-based education to sustain self-regulation.
Potential impacts on research and program implementation are discussed.
Submitted to the faculty of the University of Minnesota by Eva Robinson in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Environmental Education, May 2019. Adviser: Julie Ernst. This item has been modified from the original to redact the signatures present.
The Influence of Environment-Based Education on Students’ Basic Psychological Needs and Academic Self-Regulation.
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