Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Instruction & Curriculum Leadership

Committee Chair

Andrew Tawfik

Committee Member

Craig Shepherd

Committee Member

Leigh Williams

Committee Member

Logan Caldwell


Motivation and volition are critical precursors to learning, as students learn best when the course material is relevant and personally meaningful. The ARCS-V (i.e., attention, relevance, confidence, satisfaction, and volition) model addresses motivation from an instructional design perspective. Underlying the model is a learner-centered locus of control. Research suggests that grades can be a barrier to learning because they are teacher-centered, allowing instructors to control the reward and punishment cycle. When grades are given, earning high marks often replaces learning as the educational goal. In response to this concern, many undergraduate composition instructors have implemented ungrading, an assessment method in which students are provided with formative feedback without grades. However, an extensive literature search revealed no studies have examined ungrading using the ARCS-V model as a theoretical framework and no studies that examine the ARCS-V model in first-language composition courses. Additionally, few studies have addressed the use of ungrading in online courses. The purpose of this quantitative, survey-based, repeated measures, correlational study was to examine how student motivation, volition, and perceived learning change over time when ungrading is used in online, undergraduate, research and argumentative writing courses (RAW) at a large state university in the Southeastern United States using the ARCS-V model as a theoretical framework. Motivation was measured using the Course Interest Survey (CIS). Volition was measured using the Volition for Learning Scale, and Perceived Learning was measures using the CAP Perceived Learning Scale (CAP Scale). During the spring 2023 semester, 57 students in seven sections of RAW courses participated in an ungraded course. Participants completed the CIS, VFLS, and CAP Scale during week 1 (T1), week 4 (T2), and week 8 (T3) of the course. The results indicated that student motivation remained constant over time and that student volition and perceived learning decreased over time. As these findings contradict much of the existing research, more quantitative research into ungrading is needed to clarify these relationships.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access