Publication Date

Spring 4-2016


School of Behavioral Sciences




Goal Orientation, Self-efficacy, GPA, College Retention


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


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.