University of Missouri - Saint Louis

The Graduate School


An oral examination in defense of the dissertation for the degree

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Teresa L. Mareschal
BSBA, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 1983
MAT, Webster University, 1994

Adult Jewish Women’s Motivations for Participation in Adult Jewish Education



Although there have been numerous studies on adult education participation in general and on adult religious education, we know little about Jewish women’s participation in adult education. A key component of the Jewish religion is lifelong learning, which is instilled in Jewish people from an early age. The research has indicated that Jewish women participate in AJE programs at higher rates than their male counterparts, yet there is a lack of research into what motivates them to engage in these learning opportunities (Brown, 2003; Schuster & Grant, 2005).

This research study was designed to examine Jewish women’s participation in AJE programs, more specifically, their motivations for participating in Jewish education. The survey questionnaire was designed to identify the motives as well as the characteristics of women who participate in Adult Jewish education (AJE). This study involved the use of a modified version of Roger Boshier’s Education Participation Scale along with the Isaac, Guy, and Valentine (2001) instrument, as well as a review of the literature to develop a survey questionnaire specific to the population being studied. The survey focused on six categories of motivation—program improvement, job performance, social contact, job maintenance/external pressure, cognitive interest and professional advancement.

One of the objectives of the study was to identify Adult Jewish women’s most and least important motivations for participation in Jewish-based educational programs. In order to do so, the means for the individual items were calculated and placed in rank order from the highest to the lowest. One of the goals of the study was to identify and describe conceptually meaningful dimensions of motivation. This was accomplished by employing an exploratory factor analysis in which a series of models using varimax rotation was used. The final question of the study was to determine if there is a relationship between selected background variables and the identified factors. To determine the correlations, a bivariate analysis was conducted.

Among the 108 participants in the study, the desire to achieve or maintain Jewish Affiliation was the single most motivating factor. Jewish Learning was the second most motivating factor. The third motivating factor was Partner Connection and Intimacy. The fourth factor was To Become a Better Teacher, and finally, Family Lifecycle Learning was the fifth motivation factor. Findings from this study may assist religious leaders, program directors, and community and national organizations. It may help them to better meet the needs of adult Jewish women learners. Furthermore, it may enable them to draw new audiences to their programs and construct new programming with a wider audience appeal. Knowledge gained from this study will also broaden our knowledge relative to adult education participation and motivation in general.


Date: November 16, 2012

Time: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Place: 201 Educational Administration Bldg.


Defense of Dissertation Committee


E. Paulette Isaac-Savage, Ed.D. (Advisor)

Jim Berger, Ph.D.


Angela D. Coker, Ph.D.

Clark J. Hickman, Ed. D.