Senior Honors Theses

Publication Date

Spring 4-2016

School

School of Behavioral Sciences

Major

Psychology

Keywords

goal orientation, self-efficacy, GPA, college retention

Disciplines

Cognition and Perception | Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Methods | Personality and Social Contexts | School Psychology

Abstract

Much research has been conducted in order to determine the most significant variables associated with student academic achievement. This study explored the association among student goal orientation, self-efficacy, and academic achievement measured by GPA in a sample of undergraduate students from a large evangelical university. The trichotomous model for goal orientation was utilized including: mastery goals (motivated by a desire to master a task or subject), performance-approach goals (motivated by a desire to perform well in comparison with to others), and performance-avoidant goals (motivated by a fear of failure). Data were analyzed using two-way analysis of variance for the fixed factors of median split self-efficacy and GPA range. The outcome variable was student scores for mastery, performance-approach and performance-avoidant goal orientation respectively. Results indicated no significant interaction between GPA range and self-efficacy for any of the three models. However, GPA range had a significant main effect on performance-approach orientation and self-efficacy had a significant main effect on mastery orientation. Moreover, bivariate correlations demonstrated significant correlations between student self-efficacy scores and each type of goal orientation. Implications were discussed regarding the benefits of promoting both mastery and performance-approach goals through instructional practices as a means to promote learning and student retention in academic institutions.