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student achievement goals .pdf


Original filename: student-achievement-goals.pdf
Title: thesis
Author: Andrew Kaprusiak

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Student Achievement Goals, Motivation and Metacognitive Skills Acquisition

by

Andrew Kaprusiak

A Major Paper
Submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research
Through the Faculty of Education
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for
the Degree of Master of Education
at the University of Windsor
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
2004

Student Achievement Goals

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT……………………………………………………………………………...iv
CHAPTER
I.

INTRODUCTION
A. Definition of Terms….…….……………………………...…………..1
B. General Statement of the Problem…………………………………….4
C. Review of the Literature……………………………………………..20
Motivation and Achievement Goals………………………20
Needs Theory…….………………………….…………….21
Behaviourist Theory………………………………………25
Cognitive Approaches to Motivation…………………….29
Social Cognitive Theory………………………….……...29
Social Learning Theory………………………………….34
Achievement Motivation………………………………...37
Achievement Goals………………………………………42
D. Significance of the Proposed Paper………………………………...63

II.

APPENDICES
A. Strategies for Improving Intrinsic Learning in the Classroom……..68
B. Reasons and Remedies for Lack of Motivation……………………69
C. ARCS: A Framework for Lesson Planning………………………....71

III.

REFERENCES…………………….…………………………….………..75

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Student Achievement Goals

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Abstract
Goal theory, a subset of cognitive motivational theory, is a promising area of
study which seeks to clarify the cognitive processes involved in students’ motivation for
learning, their goals for learning and the subsequent metacognitive skills that they
acquire. As well, certain achievement goals are correlated with improved metacognitive
skills acquisition. For example, a mastery achievement goal is correlated with higher
creativity, and greater problem solving ability. In much of the previous achievement
goals research a mastery achievement goal orientation was considered the most
conducive to improved learning. However, with the development of the recent
trichotomous goals framework which incorporates approach and avoidance tendencies,
some researchers hypothesize that performance approach goals, previously thought to be
inferior achievement goals, can be just as adaptive. The purpose of this paper is to
examine the studies on achievement goals research in order to better understand the
dynamics of these goals in enhancing motivation for academic learning and other
metacognitive skills acquisition as well as to propose current methods of enhancing
motivation in the classroom.

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Student Achievement Goals

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Student Achievement Goals

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CHAPTER I: Introduction
A: Definition of Terms
Achievement Behaviour: is the behaviour that a student displays toward meeting their
achievement goals. Achievement behaviour is the actions that a student undertakes
toward meeting their achievement goal.
Achievement Goals: refers to a performance approach goal, a performance avoidance
goal or a mastery goal. Certain achievement goals direct certain levels of motivation and
metacognitive skill acquisition. For example, a student who merely wants to pass a
course will not be motivated enough to learn as much as a student who wants to master
the course material.
Achievement Goal Theory: a theory which proposes that school achievement is
correlated with students’ individual achievement goals and their resulting influence on
variations in levels of metacognitive skills and cognitive self-regulatory processes.
Depth of Understanding: level of expertise in a particular area.
Domain Specific Skills: or hard skills. As opposed to metacognitive skills, learning skills
that are acquired, which are unique to a particular application. For example, in reading a
cook book an individual can learn to make a particular recipe.
External Locus of Control: a cognitive outlook in which individuals believe that changes
to their lives are not contingent on their behaviour.

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Student Achievement Goals

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Extrinsic Learning: refers to an external locus of control for learning in which knowledge
is not accumulated primarily for the reasons of cognitive self-development but for
enhancing a student’s performance relative to others.
Hard Skills: see Domain Specific Skills. An area, as determined by Bereiter, that
requires increased consideration, from an educational standpoint, in order to develop a
technology-based economy.
Instructor Time Efficiency: the idea that instructors should spend more time engaged in
the higher level skills of the teaching profession as opposed to completing more mundane
tasks. An area, as determined by Bereiter, that requires increased consideration, from an
educational standpoint, in order to develop a technology-based economy.
Internal Locus of Control: a cognitive outlook in which individuals believe that changes
to their lives are contingent on their behaviours.
Intrinsic Learning: refers to an internal locus of control for learning in which knowledge
is acquired and assimilated into an individual’s cognitive processes for the sake of further
development of these cognitive processes and the further development of learning.
Contrast with extrinsic learning.
Lifelong Innovativeness: extending the cognitively creative life of individuals. An area,
as determined by Bereiter, that requires increased consideration, from an educational
standpoint, in order to develop a technology-based economy.

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Student Achievement Goals

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Mastery Goals: one of three sub-sets of the achievement goal paradigm in which intrinsic
competence and task mastery are pursued as the primary reasons for learning. Mastery
goals appear to be superior in developing actual learning but are not necessarily
associated with improved academic performance, such as getting high marks on tests.
Metacognitive Skills: or soft skills. A wide variety of adaptive cognitive skills related to
organizing, monitoring and modifying learning processes. For example, when an
individual reads a cookbook they not only learn how to make particular dishes (domain
specific skills) but they also can utilize skills such as memorizing, analyzing or
comparing, to name a few. Contrast with domain-specific skills.
Performance Approach Goals: mediates the motivation to learn so that academic
performance is gauged relative to others, and not necessarily gauged by how much a
student has learned. Also, the goal orientation students’ undertake when they perceive
that success is likely and failure unlikely. Performance approach goals as well, are
associated with improved academic performance but not necessarily with improved
learning.
Performance Avoidance Goals: mediates motivation so that the learner behaves in a way
to avoid being regarded as incompetent. This achievement goal often results in poor
academic performance. Also, the goal orientation students undertake when they perceive
failure to be likely and success to be unlikely.

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Soft Skills: see Metacognitive skills. An area, as determined by Bereiter, that requires
increased consideration, from an educational standpoint, in order to develop a
technology-based economy.
Technology-Based Society: A society that places greater emphasis on technological
research, technological development and technological consumption than was heretofore
the situation. A technology-based society provides job opportunities for individuals in
each of the previously mentioned stages, as well as providing the economy of the nation
with fresh opportunities for economic growth. A technologically based society also
requires increased levels of literacy from the individuals participating in it, in order to
sustain itself.
Trichotomous Goals Framework: One of three achievement goal orientations, which
derived from the previous two achievement goal orientations of earlier research. Previous
goals were divided into performance or mastery achievement goals. Contemporary
achievement goals research now divides performance goals into two distinct orientations:
performance approach and performance avoidance.

B: General Statement of the Problem

If education has been traditionally considered a function of teaching, today
and even more in the future education means the permanent process of
learning by every human being in society. Learning change has become
one of the new prior objectives of education.
Alexander King & Bertrand Schneider;

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Student Achievement Goals

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The First Global Revolution, 1991.

Educational reform is an important issue in contemporary society due to the
exponential rate of change occurring in the workforce as a result of increasing
globalization and the increasing proliferation of information technology. As a result,
governments have been forced to grapple with educational reform in order to adequately
prepare people for the rapidly changing employment requirements of the contemporary
economy. Moreover, several social and demographic trends are also contributing to the
sense of immediacy that is the catalyst for educational reform. For example, dwindling
manufacturing employment, increasing global competition and low birth rates all
contribute to North American society’s need for educational reform. For example, the
number of high-paying manufacturing jobs that, in the past, accommodated those not
academically inclined, are dwindling. Students disininclined to pursue education could,
in previous times, accept well-paying jobs in the manufacturing sector and earn adequate
livelihoods. However, today the prospects for high-paying manufacturing jobs are
limited. Nevertheless, as manufacturing employment in North America dwindles there
are increased opportunities for employment in other sectors, such as in the service and
information technology sectors. Although employment in the service sector is expanding,
it tends to require little training, which is reflected in the modest wages paid to its
employees. As well, many service sector careers are unfulfilling, making this sector an

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