This study discusses why motivation is important, and briefly examines the history of motivation theory, contemporary motivation theory, and how these theories of motivation are relevant to education and academic performance. Self-directed learning is also discussed as it relates to the motivation to learn. The study aims to help provide a focus for allocation of scarce resources in order to improve outcomes in education. Participants in this study provided demographic information on age and gender and on their academic performance in the previous semester. Participants completed measures of classroom interaction, Self Esteem, General Self Efficacy, Perception of Parents, and an adapted Task Evaluation Questionnaire. Analyses of the data using Spearmann’s rho and Pearson’s r tests of correlation revealed significant positive relationships between age and academic performance, and between perceived competence as measured by the adapted Task Evaluation Questionnaire and academic performance. Expectations of a significant positive correlation between levels of classroom interaction and academic performance were surprisingly contradicted with a finding of a significant negative correlation between these measures. None of the other subscales of the adapted Task Evaluation Questionnaire were significant predictors of academic performance. Scores on the Perceptions of Parents Scale were not a significant predictor of academic performance, nor were scores on Self Esteem or General Self Efficacy. Improved research design could provide further insight into the relationships found.