Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The Relationships among Achievement, Goal Orientation, and Study Strategies

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The Relationships among Achievement, Goal Orientation, and Study Strategies

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to test a model of relations among goal orientation, study strategies and achievement. The model postulated that academic achievement and goal orientations are related where achievement is related positively to mastery and performance goals but related negatively to avoidance. The mastery goal was postulated as a positive predictor of deep processing but a negative predictor of disorganization; the performance goal was posited as a positive predictor of surface processing and deep processing and a negative predictor of disorganization. The performance avoidance goal was posited as a positive predictor of disorganization, but a negative predictor of deep processing and surface processing. As predicted, the mastery goal was a positive predictor of deep processing, the performance goal was a positive predictor of surface processing and avoidance was a positive predictor of disorganization. Achievement was a positive predictor of both surface processing and disorganization

The achievement motive consists of two major components or desires: the desire to excel and the desire to avoid failure. Individuals who desire to excel may think of outperforming others or mastering a task. Hence, a new conceptualization of motivation has emerged. The new conceptualization treats performance and mastery goals as approach forms of motivation (Ames, 1992; Elliot & Church, 1997). The new conceptualization contrasts with the theory of classic achievement motivation which emphasizes that activity in achievement settings may be oriented toward success or toward avoidance of failure (McClelland, Atkinson, Clark, & Lowell, 1953). Elliot and his colleagues (Elliot, 1997; Elliot & Church, 1997; Elliot, McGregor & Gable, 1999) have proposed a trichotomous achievement goal framework. "In this framework, the performance goal construct is bifurcated into approach and avoidance forms of regulation and three independent achievement goals are delineated" (Elliot et al., 1999, p.549). These goals are: the performance-approach goal which focuses on the attainment of competence relative to others, the performance-avoidance goal which focuses on the avoidance of incompetence relative to others, and the mastery goal which focuses on the development of competence. The new conceptualization has been supported by experimental studies.

These motivational goal orientations have been found to be linked to a host of variables such as parenting styles, achievement, self-concept and study and learning strategies (Albaili, 1998; Elliot et al., 1999). The focus of the present research is on the relationship between goal orientation and study strategies and academic achievement. The study strategies were initially identified and introduced by Entwistle, Thompson and Wilson (1974) as part of a heuristic model. Three such strategies have been identified: Deep processing, surface processing, and disorganization (see Elliot et al.). Several studies have found that goal orientations are related to study strategies. Specifically, mastery goals are positively related to deep processing (Ames & Archer, 1988; Anderman & Young, 1994; Elliot et al.). However, as Elliot et al. stated, "generating hypotheses for surface processing and disorganization is not as straightforward" (p. 550). While mastery goals could be related positively to surface processing, the two constructs could also be related negatively, or even not related, since surface processing (memorization) is considered an extrinsic form of engagement (Entwistle, 1990). Therefore, the relationship between the two constructs is dependent on how the learner views the surface processing. If "such processing is viewed as integral to the development of a comprehensive knowledge base" (Elliot & Church, 1977), then the relationship would be positive. However, if surface processing is viewed as an extrinsic form of engagement, then the relationship would be negative or null. …

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