Student motivation in and out of the school context : The relationship between achievement goal orientation profiles and personal goals

Research output: ThesisMaster's thesisTheses

Abstract

The present study focused on the relations between students achievement goal orientations and personal goals. Achievement goal orientation represents a persons generalized tendency towards favoring certain type of goals and outcomes in an achievement context such as school. Achievement goal orientations are related to a variety of outcomes, such as adaptation to school, achievement and subjective well-being. Personal goals work as vehicles through which the individual guides his or her development and they play important role in different life transitions. The way a person chooses and manages his or her personal goals is related to achievement in different life domains, satisfaction in life and well-being. Both personal goals and achievement goal orientations are considered as important factors in adolescents adaptation to different developmental demands. The possible interrelation between the two phenomena however has not yet been studied. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to examine whether students belonging to different achievement goal orientation groups differ according to their personal goals.

1395 first year upper secondary school students filled in a questionnaire tapping different motivation constructs. Several statistical analyses were run on the collected data and a person-centered approach was applied to the data-analysis. By utilizing latent class clustering, five distinct achievement goal profiles were extracted from the study sample. Following each groups most pronounced motivational tendencies, the groups were named as indifferent, learning-oriented, success-oriented, performance-avoidance-oriented and avoidance-oriented, respectively. Through content-analysis, 13 personal goal categories were formed: present education, work/occupation, relationships/marriage/having children, health, hobbies/free time, friends and family, money/property, life style, future education, travelling, moving, and self-related negative goals.

Few differences with regards to the personal goals were found between the identified goal orientation groups. The groups differed according to their interest in goals related to present education, future education, and career, with the less adaptive groups, the avoidance- and performance-avoidance-oriented, displaying significantly less interest in these goals than the other groups. The learning-oriented listed significantly more goals related to future education and career and, somewhat surprisingly, the indifferent had more personal goals related to present education than the other groups.

Study and work related goals are considered as important for successful transition from adolescence to adulthood as both adaptation to school and entrance to further education and working life are one of the most important developmental tasks. It seems that the students with less adaptive achievement goal orientation also display somewhat less favorable personal goal preferences. These students might benefit from counseling and guidance, as they might be potentially at a higher risk for disengaging from school.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHelsinki
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2014
MoE publication typeG2 Master's thesis, polytechnic Master's thesis

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences
  • Achievement goal orientation
  • Personal goals
  • Person-centered approach
  • Profile Analysis

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