Achievement Goals

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WORK IN PROGRESS -- THIS PAGE IS STILL BEING CREATED FOR A CLASS PROJECT. PLEASE DO NOT EDIT.


Achievement goals are the orientations for how and why people engage in achievement situations. They refer to the underlying purposes of engagement in the scenario. These orientations guide interpretation of events in an achievement environment, and produce characteristic patterns of cognition, emotion and behaviors (Kaplan & Maehr, 2007).


Mastery and Performance Goals

Early theory and research on achievement goals led to the proposal of two broad classes of goals, mastery-oriented and performance-oriented.

Mastery Goals

Mastery goals (alternatively called Learning goals, or task-focused goals) are concerned with the development of skill. A mastery-oriented student is one whose primary goal is to improve her ability. Adoption of mastery goals has been found to be correlated with better self-regulation, deeper processing strategies, more positive affect, and increased topic interest (What citation to cover all?). However, mastery goals are less well correlated to measures of actual achievement, such as grades (Harackiewicz et al., 2002).

Performance Goals

Performance goals (alternatively called normative goals, or ego-focused goals) are concerned with demonstrations of skill. A performance-oriented student is one whose primary goal is to demonstrate her ability. Adoption of performance goals has been linked with a variety of effects, some positive and some negative. Performance goals are generally correlated with surface processing, and negative affect and off-task behaviors following failures

there has also been much variability across studies.

Approach/Avoidance Distinction

Experimental Manipulations

Links to Other Theories

Open Questions