Consider the study: Athman, Julie & Monroe, Martha. (2004). The effects of environment-based education on students’ achievement motivation. Journal of Interpretation Research, 9(1): 9-25.
This study finds that learning motivation is associated with more actual engagement in schoolwork. This improves improves a student's academic performance. The study looked at 11 Florida high schools, 400 9th and 12th grade students. The authors compared achievement motivation in classrooms with environment-based educational programs that use the environment as an integrated context (EIC) to more traditional classrooms.
Students filled out an Achievement Motivation Inventory and a number of teachers and students participating in the programs were interviewed.
Basic study finding: "Controlling for grade point average, gender and ethnicity, environment-based education significantly raised 9th and 12th graders’ achievement motivation in comparison to the control groups. Students and teachers attributed increased motivation to the use of the local environment, teachers’ ability to tailor learning experiences to students’ interests and strengths, and the application of learning to real-life issues and problems" This "often enabled students to present their work to community audiences beyond their teacher."