Development of Motivation at Matura Schools

Development of the extrinsic and intrinsic motivation of pupils at Matura schools in German-speaking Switzerland from the 9th to the 11th school year in the subjects of mathematics, German, English and French.

Fritz C. Staub (University of Zurich)


Complaints about the (lack of) motivation of pupils in adolescence are widespread and date back to the beginning of history. Results from international research on motivation development during the school years have confirmed a gradual decline in motivation with increasing age. Since no longitudinal studies exist to date that take into account the specific conditions of the Swiss Gymnasium, we do not yet know how motivation develops in the Gymnasium period.

The EMMA study is therefore devoted to the following questions:

  • How do the extrinsic (i.e. learning for external incentives such as grades) and the intrinsic motivation (i.e. learning out of interest, regardless of grade) of pupils from the 9th to the 11th school year in the subjects of mathematics, German, English and French develop at Matura schools in German-speaking Switzerland?
  • How are perceived characteristics of the teaching environment (e.g. experience of autonomy), central personality traits (Big Five) and the main subject of the students related to the development of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation?

The database is based on a study by the SNF (project number 131713):


Project Duration 2019 until 2020
Project Leadership:

Prof. Dr. Fritz C. Staub

Research Team

Dr. Eva S. Becker

Oana Costache, MA MSc

Cooperation partners

Dr. Peter A. Edelsbrunner (ETH Zürich)

Dr. Fabio Sticca (Marie Meierhofen Institut für das Kind)

Prof. Dr. Thomas Götz (University of Vienna)

Funding Source:

• Schweizerische Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften (SAGW)

• Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz (SCNAT)

• Staatssekretariat für Bildung, Forschung und Innovation (SBFI)

• Konferenz Schweizerischer Gymnasialrektorinnen und Gymnasialrektoren (KSGR)

• Dachverband Lehrerinnen und Lehrer Schweiz (LCH)