Goal Orientation Theory: Motivation And Importance In Academic Achievement

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Goal orientation theory has emerged as a dominant theoretical framework for studying motivation and competence in academic achievement. Also known as Achievement Goals, according to McKinney (2003), it is as a construct that reflects internal motivational processes which then affect an individual 's task choice, self-set goals, and effort mechanisms in learning and performance contexts. A person’s achievement goal is said to represent his or her own purpose for engaging behavior in an achievement situation (Phan, 2008). Initially, achievement goal theorists used a mastery-performance goal dichotomy in accounting for competence-based strivings. Mastery-oriented people are driven to increase competence, understanding, and appreciation for what is being learned (Covington, 2000). On the other hand, people who are motivated to outperform others as a means to uplift one’s ability status (Covington, 2000) or perform based on a normative-based standard (Zweig & Webster, 2004) are performance-oriented. This dichotomous model has been extended to a trichotomous model which kept the mastery goal orientation intact but divided performance goal orientation into two: (a) performance-approach goal orientation which involves a desire to showcase one’s abilities by being the best (Anderman, Urdan, & Roesser, 2003); and performance-avoidance goal orientation which is grounded in fear of failure and is concerned with not appearing inept or less able than others (Elliot & Harackiewicz, 1996;

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