Association between Seating Arrangement and Achievement Motivation and Effort in Elementary Classrooms

Open Access
Davis, Kelsey Anne
Area of Honors:
Human Development and Family Studies
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Scott David Gest, Thesis Supervisor
  • Charles Geier, Honors Advisor
  • achievement motivation
  • effort
  • elementary
  • seating arrangement
Student motivation in the classroom has become an important topic of interest for educational researchers as formal education has become an essential requirement for adult employment. Multiple factors contribute to the development and retention of motivation across students’ K-12 educational careers. The present study focuses on motivation in the elementary school context, examining the association between teacher-defined seating arrangements and student motivation and effort in the classroom. Data were analyzed from the Classroom Peer Ecologies Project, a study investigating teacher practices, classroom peer ecologies, and youth outcomes. Participants were recruited from 111 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade classrooms. Students reported on their motivation and effort and teachers reported on student effort. Each teacher provided the classroom seating chart. The overall configuration of seats was coded as Rows (all desks facing front of the room), Tables/Groups (clusters of seats facing each other) or Other. OLS regressions were conducted focusing on the main effects of seating arrangements on motivation and effort. Results provided partial support for the hypothesis that motivation would be higher in classrooms in which seats were arranged in rows.