Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Larry H. Ebbers


Student involvement theory provides the framework for examining the effectiveness of the technique Dare to Dream on improving first-year at-risk students' quality of effort relative to their coursework and other academic activities. The researcher of this study developed the technique Dare to Dream with the goal to enhance students' intrinsic motivation by helping them construct connections between the current academic experience and their future career aspirations, thereby increasing their involvement and thus improving their quality of effort. From 1994 to 1998 the researcher, in the role of educator during that time, administered Dare to Dream to over 300 students in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary educational settings. There is an anecdotal record but no empirical evidence to support the effectiveness of Dare to Dream on improving students' quality of effort. For this pilot study, postsecondary students were selected and student peer facilitators administered Dare to Dream. The sample was 29 first-year at-risk students attending a private, independent, Midwestern university. Gain scores (difference between pretest and posttest scores) from the College Student Experiences Questionnaire (Pace, 1990), Estimate of Gains section, assessed a change in quality of effort for students assigned randomly to three groups. Any differences between the three groups were examined using analysis of variance. The researcher was unable to reject the null hypothesis of no difference. Dare to Dream had no measurable effect on students' quality of effort. However, the significant body of research on the influence and interrelationship between intrinsic motivation and quality of effort, and the challenge for educators to develop strategies to increase students' motivation to learn support continued study of the technique Dare to Dream.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Wanda Earnestine Woods Everage



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

141 pages