This chapter explores the motivational factors that determine when and why people come to identify with educational groups. It presents a theoretical framework outlined within self-determination theory – a theory of human motivation based on the satisfaction of three basic needs: autonomy, relatedness and competence. The chapter employs this theory alongside the social identity approach and discusses how psychological need satisfaction underscores the development of educational social identity. It explores the united perspectives from the social identity and self-determination traditions to understand the development of educational social identity during critical transition phases for students. The chapter lalso presents one of the earliest attempts to combine the social identity and self-determination approaches and apply them to an educational context. Understanding the factors that foster educational identification will contribute to the development of interventions designed to keep students achieving, happy and – perhaps most important of all – in school.