Goal Orientations, Locus of Control and Academic Achievement in Prospective Teachers: An Individual Differences Perspective

Article excerpt


The aim of this study is to investigate the role of the prospective teachers' locus of control in goal orientations and of both orientations in academic achievement. The participants were 270 undergraduate students studying in different majors at the Faculty of Education in Pamukkale University. Goal Orientations and Locus of Control Scales were used to gather the data. Pearson Correlation and regression analyses were performed to analyze the data. Results showed that mastery goal orientation was positively and avoidant goal orientation was negatively related with locus of control and academic achievement. A positive relationship was found between locus of control and academic achievement. In the study regression analyses indicated that mastery and avoidance goal orientations were predicted by locus of control and academic achievement was predicted by goal orientations and locus of control together. Implications of the findings were discussed and suggestions were given for the educators.

Key Words

Goal Orientations, Locus of Control, Academic Achievement, Prospective Teachers.

Prospective teacher's behaviours depend on many crucial characteristics which could be defined as the individual-difference variables or conceptualized as the sources of personal differences.

Some of these relate to the individual directly. Among them "goal orientations" and "locus of control" constructs take an important role. Because as literature revealed, both orientations have meaningful relationships with the affective, cognitive, and behavioral reactions of students in and out of school settings and academic achievement (Chubb, Fertman & Ross, 1997; Diener & Dweck, 1978; Dweck & Leggett, 1988; Eliot & Church, 1997; Nelson & Mathias, 1995; Rose & Medway, 1981; Seifert, 1995). Therefore, the "goal orientations" and "locus of control" constructs have received considerable attention in psychological and educational researches. However, there is little research documenting the relationships between the prospective teachers' goal and locus of control orientations and the two constructs' role in academic achievement together. Additionally, the need to understand the nature of the relations between various theories and thus to explain the differences in the quality of students' behaviours is obvious. Following this view, the primary goal of the present study was to examine the role of the prospective teachers' locus of control in their goal orientations and of both orientations in academic achievement.

Theories of motivation focus on the importance of motivational characteristics in order to predict the students' learning behaviors and performances. In that respect, expectancy/value theorists (Eccles, 1987; Eccles & Wigfield, 1995; Meece, Wigfield & Eccles, 1990; Wigfield, 1994; Wigfield & Eccles, 1992, 2000) propose that individual's expectancies and the value given to the task determine the achievement behavior. Consistent with this view, social-cognitive theory of motivation (Dweck, 1986; Dweck & Leggett, 1988) postulates that there is a relationship between a person's goal orientations and his/her responses in academic settings. Within this social-cognitive framework, achievement goal theory has developed in motivational researches.

The primary focus of goal orientation theory is on how students think about themselves, their tasks and their performance (Dweck &Leggett, 1988).

According to the goal theory, the motives that the students used to complete their tasks are called as goal orientations (Ames, 1992; Dweck, 1986). Recently, many researchers have adopted a goal orientation framework and labeled different types of goals such as learning versus performance (Elliot & Dweck, 1988; Miller, Behrens, Greene & Newman, 1993); task versus ego (Fox, Goudes, Biddle, Duda & Armstrong, 1994); mastery versus performance (Ames & Archer, 1988); and task mastery, egosocial, and work-avoidant (Meece, Blumenfeld & Hoyle, 1988; Meece & Holt, 1993; Nolen & Haladyna, 1990). …


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.