We investigated how high-performers and low-performers differ with regard to motivation and engagement in a university-level, large-format general education geography course. One hundred and ten students participated in the study. A self-report measure was administered three times (at the beginning, middle and end of the semester). Performance data were obtained from final course grades. Results showed there were significant differences between the high- and low-performer groups in motivation but not in engagement. With regard to students perceptions of motivational aspects of the course, the low-performer group showed a significant decrease in attention but the high-performer group showed a significant increase. The relevance perceived by both groups decreased over time. The confidence and satisfaction of the low-performer group decreased whereas there was no change in those of the high-performer group throughout the semester. Findings as well as implications for teaching in a college large-format general education course are discussed. 2015 Ucu.