Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wilkins, Elizabeth A.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Curriculum and Instruction (CI)


This dissertation examined how the perception of the achievement-emotion of boredom impacted the academic agency of sixth-grade mathematics students. The study for this dissertation was completed during the Covid 19 pandemic. Through an explanatory sequential mixed methods study, sixth-grade mathematics student volunteers from a Midwest middle school responded to survey items on achievement-emotions as well as shared their perspectives about their perception of boredom in three mathematics settings: classroom, studying and/or independent learning, and testing. Eleven of the 69 sixth-grade mathematic students participated in three rounds of data collection: the AEQ-M Survey, homogenous focus group discussions, and individual interviews. A repeated measure within-subject ANOVA was used to analyze the quantitative data from the survey. The results of the focus group discussions and the individual interviews were coded and organized into themes of control and value. The results show that sixth grade mathematics students perceived boredom in all three classroom settings: classroom, studying and/or independent learning, and testing. While discussing the perception of boredom, the sixth-grade mathematics students used descriptors of control and value, such as mathematics skills, executive functioning, intentional distractions, persistence of time, along with positive and negative appraisals. While discussing the perception of boredom, the same students used descriptors of value, such as positive and negative appraisal as well as influencers, those people in a sixth-grade mathematics student’s life that influenced their beliefs about the value of mathematics. Different mathematics settings elicited distinct achievement-emotions, along with varying levels of perceptions of those achievement-emotions. Perceptions of boredom differed greatly as demonstrated by discussions comparing their ability to stay awake in class due to boredom and compared to persevering while studying independently. In this study, the perception of boredom was identified by the participants prior to, during, and/or after a test. The participants discussed patterns of behaviors consistent with control-value theory and with the process of self-regulation. These patterns worked together to create a triad for boredom agency—a course of action for sixth-grade mathematics students to pursue while striving to achieve academic goals, all while being confronted with the perception of boredom. This study identifies implications for future research, considerations for high stakes testing, as well as a reflection on how teachers of sixth grade mathematics students can help to scaffold the development of academic agency when their students are facing boredom.


226 pages




Northern Illinois University

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