Agency and high school science students’ motivation, engagement, and classroom support experiences

Erika A. Patall, Keenan A. Pituch, Rebecca R. Steingut, Ariana C. Vasquez, Nicole Yates, Alana A.U. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Agentic engagement is a potential gateway to improving the classroom climate and adolescent students’ motivation. The current investigation provided the first test of daily and short-term longitudinal relations between U.S. high school science students’ agentic engagement during class and their psychological need satisfaction, other forms of engagement (behavioral, cognitive, emotional), and perceptions of teachers’ autonomy relevant practices. Analyses were based on a six-week diary study with 208 urban and suburban U.S. high school students from 41 science classes. Multilevel modeling analyses suggested that agentic engagement predicted an increase in concurrent and longitudinal perceived teacher autonomy support, need satisfaction, and other forms of engagement. Mediational analyses supported theoretical depictions of agentic engagement as emerging out of an autonomy supportive context and dynamically shaping that context and students’ motivational experiences over the course of an instructional unit. The implications and fit of the findings with theory are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-92
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
StatePublished - May 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescence
  • Agentic engagement
  • Autonomy support
  • Motivation
  • Science
  • Teacher practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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