Educators agree that students succeed when reading materials are suitable to their backgrounds and contain ideas that are motivating. Interest in achievement motivation dates back to at least 1910, but until the pioneering work of Atkinson and McClelland, little progress was made in developing achievement motive theory emphasizing both clinical and experimental models (Heckhausen, 1967). McClelland, Atkinson, Clark and Lowell (1953; 1976) formulated the theory of achievement motivation through the use of the Thematic Apperception Test (Murray, 1938) measuring individual differences in the motive to enter an achievement situation. McClelland (1961) defines n-Ach (need achievement) motivation as competition with a standard of excellence. The individual strives to do something well or to accomplish a goal for personal satisfaction, for intrinsic rewards. Achievement motivation theory emphasizes the importance and measurement of individual differences in assessing people's interactions with their environment. The strength of n-Ach is measured by a score devised by coding the thought content of imaginative stories.
Eyia, K. E., & Bader, L. A. (1993). Relationships Among Need Achievement Themes and Ethnic and Gender Identities in Elementary Literature Series. Reading Horizons, 33 (3). Retrieved from http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/reading_horizons/vol33/iss3/2