Additionally, honours students were asked to rank the three most important reasons (from a list) that they had decided to take part in the honours programme.
We compared all honours students versus all non-honours students and--with regard to the pilot--did the statistics for the two programmes separately (in other words, interdisciplinary honours versus non-honours students of the University of Amsterdam and disciplinary honours versus non-honours students in Human Geography and Planning at the University of Utrecht).
RESULTS OF THE PILOT STUDY: HONOURS STUDENTS VERSUS NON-HONOURS STUDENTS
The honours students, being asked to rate qualities of faculty and courses on a scale of 1 (very important) to 5 (totally unimportant), answered as follows: most important is that the teachers be inspiring (1.
Our new data confirm these differences with a relatively strong emphasis that honours students put on the awakening of their curiosity and--as we will see in more detail--non-honours students' demand for clearly structured study tasks.
The five highest scoring items for the honours students had to do with inherent enjoyment and indicated internal motivation.
In our research, honours students had a higher average score on the items that relate to intrinsic motivation and a lower average score on the items that relate to extrinsic motivation; the pilot study's control group also scored intrinsic motivation higher than extrinsic motivation but not as markedly as for the honours group.
Our data show that honours students not only seem more curious but also ask more questions during courses than non-honours students (Cramer's V=3.
and Robertson that honours students expect their classes to be exciting and stimulating.
The differences between honours students and students in the control groups are also pronounced in how the students value the five qualities that were part of all three data collections.
Our results further indicate that honours students appreciate relatedness.
Inspired by Gerrity's findings in 1993 that honours students are more interested than non-honours students in nonacademic activities, we asked students about their participation level in extracurricular activities organized by the department or university, but we did not find any significant correlation.
The overall impression derived from our study is that honours students' evaluation of their academic environment indicates a high level of intrinsic motivation.
Our research indicates differences between honours and non-honours students in the value that they place on specific qualities of teachers and courses.
We hope to see similar research on students participating in honours programmes in the United states and other countries so that we can join forces in designing honours programmes that engender commitment, effort, wisdom, creativity, and high-quality performance.