CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

Kathleen M. Buckley

Committee Member

George K. Fornshell


A preliminary causal-comparative study was conducted in an elementary suburban school in Massachusetts to investigate the impact of electronic portfolio assessments in student's intrinsic motivation and computer interest.

The target population were two groups of fourth grade and two groups of fifth grade students for a total of 77 subjects. They were trained and introduced to electronic portfolio assessments, a program which lasted for the entire school year. The students used Hyper Studio, a multimedia software program developed and marketed by Roger Wagner Publishing, Inc.

It was the intention of the elementary school program directors and teachers that students would take a proactive and self-administered approach to the management of portfolios. Participants were tested before initiation of the program and post-tested six months later using the "Children's Academic Intrinsic Motivation Inventory" "(CAIMI)," a Likert scale test developed by Adele Eskeles Gottfried, Ph.D. at California State University, Northridge.

They were also given a pre-test and post-test computer interest Likert scale inventory adapted from a test named Moe Computer Educational Survey "(MCES)." This test was developed at South Dakota State University by Daniel J. Moe as part of his research and graduate work. The MCES test was used to determine if there had been a change of computer interest by girls after participation in the computer-based electronic portfolio assessment program.

The motivation and interest pre-and post-test results were analyzed with t-tests (p < .05 for motivation, p < .01 for interest). There were no significant treatment effects. There were score increases at the lowest level of the motivation pre-test scoring level but no increases at the highest pre-test scoring levels. Thirty-four students (48 percent) showed an increase in intrinsic motivation scores, while thirty-seven students (52 percent) showed no change or experimented a decrease in scores. As a result, it was concluded that other factors, including subject maturation and teachers' skills in identifying and working intensely with the students who displayed symptoms of initial low motivation may have contributed to the increases. The study was inconclusive because it did not provide evidence to support the hypothesis that there was a change in intrinsic motivation or interest of all the students as a result of their participation in the electronic portfolio assessment program in the Massachusetts suburban elementary school. For confidentiality reasons, fictitious names were used to describe the suburban locality and the experimental school. The locality was named Best borough and the school site Pioneer.

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