Anticipated Date of Graduation

Summer 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mathematical Sciences



First Advisor

Douglas Darbro


In the past 50 years, high school sports have been on the rise with more and more students deciding to participate in a high school sport. Because of this, it is important that schools, parents, and students look at the research behind how sport participation effects academic success. There have been studies that show sports having a positive effect on academic success, there have been studies that have shown that the intrinsic motivation is strongly correlated with academic success, and there have been studies that have shown that sport participation increases motivation to perform. The current study seeks to bridge the gap between the three components of sport participation, student motivation, and academic success. The current study examines how student motivation in the classroom (intrinsic, extrinsic, and amotivation) and sport participation (team, individual, both, or none) affects academic success. The study was conducted at Lutheran West High School by means of gathering data on student GPAs, sports participation, and type of motivation. Type of motivation was gathered through student surveys to find the levels of motivation a student perceives of themselves and teacher surveys to find the level of motivation the teacher perceives of the student. Statistical techniques of multiple regression, factor analysis, correlation tests, and ANOVA techniques were used to test and answer the research questions. The study found that there is no direct relationship between sport participation and academic success. However, the study found a strong positive relationship between motivation (not necessarily intrinsic or extrinsic) and academic success. The study also found a positive relationship between sports and motivation. Thus, the study argues to have found an indirect relationship with academics and sport participation by interpreting that sport participation increases motivation and motivation increases academic iv success. The Self-Determination Theory states that those who are involved in environments that promote competence, autonomy, and relatedness, have a higher likelihood of possessing intrinsic motivation. Research shows that higher levels of intrinsic motivation increases academic success. Thus, creating environments that promote competence, autonomy, and relatedness are good for academic success. It could be possible that sports are one of these environments, but are not the only one. It is shown in the current study that motivation plays a strong positive role in academic success. The current study concludes that schools should continue to recommend and encourage environments that promote competence, autonomy, and relatedness to increase student motivation. Sports could be promoted as one of these environments that help students increase their motivation to increase their academic success.

Included in

Mathematics Commons