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Session Overview
PAP-01: Goal Orientation
Time: Tuesday, 28/Aug/2012: 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Session Chair: Thea Peetsma, University of Amsterdam
Location: 251


Dimensions of evalutation related goals in high school students

Mariana Almeida Amorim, Marina Serra Lemos

Faculty of Psychology, Porto, Portugal

During the last three decades, the achievement goal approach – which rests on the distinction between mastery goals and performance goals – has raised a strong interest among researchers. Accordingly, mainly because of the complexity of the results related to performance goals, an interesting debate has arisen in order to explore the various dimensions associated with this type of goals. From this debate several models have emerged, as well as different ways of conceptualizing and operationalizing goals.

In this study, we sought to clarify the dimensions within performance goals using Exploratory Factor Analysis and then correlational analysis between school adjustment variables and each goal found, to validate their differentiation. Participants were 483 high school (10th, 11th, and12th grades) students who answered goal items assessing several goal dimensions: competition, self-presentation, and approach and avoidance tendencies. Results revealed four main types of evaluation-related goals: approach goals, avoidance goals, simple evaluation goals, and presentation to the teacher goals. Approach and avoidance apparently play a stronger role in organizing students’ motivation than the self-presentation and competitive dimensions, with only presentation to the teacher (this type of goal emerged in the present study as empirically distinct) and simple evaluation goals overriding the valence dimension. Simple evaluation goals constituted the most relevant concern of students, supporting similar results previously found in the various levels of education within the larger project, from Faculty of Psychology in Porto, in which this study is included, reinforcing the importance of the inclusion of this type of goals in research on evaluation-related goals.

Finnish students’ achievement goal orientations and academic well-being during an educational transition: A longitudinal person-centered approach

Heta Tuominen-Soini, Katariina Salmela-Aro, Markku Niemivirta

University of Helsinki, Finland

This study examined students’ (N=579) achievement goal orientation profiles, profile differences in academic well-being (i.e., school value, school burnout, schoolwork engagement, satisfaction with educational choice), and temporal stability of these profiles across the transition to upper secondary education. Also, students’ educational track (i.e., academic/vocational) after the transition was investigated as a function of change in goal orientation group. Following a person-centered approach, students were classified into homogenous groups with similar patterns of achievement goal orientation by means of latent profile analysis. Four groups of students were identified: indifferent, success-oriented, mastery-oriented, and avoidance-oriented. Indifferent and avoidance-oriented students showed less adaptive patterns of motivation and academic well-being than did mastery- and success-oriented students. Both mastery- and success-oriented students were engaged in studying and found their schoolwork meaningful, but success-oriented students’ stronger concerns with performance made them more susceptible to burnout. Motivational profiles were relatively stable across the transition; half of the students displayed identical profiles and most changes in the group memberships were directed towards neighboring groups. According to the results of configural frequency analyses, those students who stayed in the indifferent group across the transition were more likely than expected by chance to choose vocational track, while those who stayed in the success-oriented group were more likely to choose academic track. In conclusion, the results indicate that some students encounter declining motivation and different types of adjustment problems, while many students navigate through the transition without notable problems, and some even flourish and become increasingly motivated and engaged in studying.

Longitudinal research on the reciprocal relations between students' goal-orientations, investment and achievement in maths

Thea Peetsma, Jaap Schuitema, Ineke Van der Veen

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, The

This study investigated the longitudinal reciprocal relations between students’ goal- orientations, investment and achievement in maths. Students’ mastery goals have been associated with better effort for school, while performance approach and performance avoidance goals often were associated with less effort and achievement. Investment for school may have a mediating role between students’ goals and their achievement.

707 First year students in secondary education participated in the study (age 12 at the start). A self-report questionnaire was administered five times during the first two years in secondary education: September 2009 (start of the first year), February 2010, September 2010 (start of the second year), February 2011 and June 2011 (end of second year). All items in the questionnaire were rated on 5-point Likert scales.

The questionnaire included scales to assess students’ mastery, performance approach, and performance avoidance goals in maths and their investment in maths. The school provided students’ grades for maths.

The results from cross-lagged auto regression analyses indicated that especially students’ investment for maths is related to their achievement in maths. Also reciprocal effects of the maths score in the first school year on the investment for maths in the second year have been found. Mastery goals for maths and performance approach goals for maths seem to be related to maths achievement which was not the case for performance avoidance goals. Also, mediation of school investment between goal-orientations and maths achievement has been found.

The Pivotal Role of Effort Beliefs in Mediating Implicit Theories and Goals & Motivations

Dirk Tempelaar1, Bart Rienties2

1Maastricht University, Netherlands, The; 2University of Surrey, UK

Empirical studies into meaning systems surrounding implicit theories of intelligence typically entail two stringent assumptions: that different implicit theories and different effort beliefs represent opposite poles on a single scale, and that implicit theories directly impact the constructs of motivational and goal orientation type (see e.g. Dweck, 1999, 2002; Dweck & Master, 2008; Dweck & Leggett, 1988; Dweck & Molden, 2005; Molden & Dweck, 2006; Plaks, Levy, & Dweck, 2009). Few studies, however, put these assumptions explicitly to test. And where bivariate relationships between related constructs are incorporated, these are in general too weak to suggest the consolidation into a single construct. This refers both incremental and entity positions (Chen & Pajares, 2010; Elliott & McGregor, 2001), and negative and positive effort beliefs (no published empirical studies).

Through a empirical study based on 4594 first year business and economics students in a problem-based learning program, we demonstrate that relieving these stringent assumptions, and thereby using the meaning system framework to its full potential, provides strong benefits: effort beliefs are crucial mediators of relationships between implicit theories and goal orientation and achievement motivation, and the different poles of implicit theories and effort beliefs do expose different relationships with goals and motivations. Structural equation modeling is applied in deriving these outcomes. Instruments used are Dweck’s (1999) Theories of Intelligence Scale, Dweck’s (1999) and Blackwell’s (2002) measures of Effort beliefs, Grant and Dweck (2003) instrument for learning and performance goals, and the Academic Motivation Scale (Vallerand et al., 1992).

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