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Motivation, students, and the classroom environment: exploring the role of Swedish students’ achievement goals in chemistry
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education. (UmSER)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8454-319x
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overarching aim of this thesis is to deepen the knowledge about students’ achievement goals in chemistry and how they relate to students’ epistemic beliefs (beliefs about knowledge) and to their perceptions of classroom goal structures (instructional practices that emphasize certain achievement goals). Achievement goals are defined as the purpose behind students’ engagement in achievement behavior. They are important components in students’ moti­vation and in­fluence students’ success and well-being in school. This thesis primarily focuses on two types of achievement goals: mastery and performance goals. Students with mastery goals define success in relation to prior performances and the task at hand and they strive to develop their competence. Students with performance goals define success in relation to others and they strive to demonstrate their relative competence. To study students’ achievement goals, questionnaire data and responses on a chemistry test were collected from Swedish and German students in Grades 5-11 and analyzed through statistical methods.

The results show that it was possible to statistically differentiate between two dif­fer­ent performance goals (striving to outperform others and avoid being outperformed by others) in the German data, but not in the Swedish. This challenges the universality of achievement goal models. Regarding the relationship between achievement goals and epistemic beliefs, the results indicated that sophisticated epistemic beliefs correlated with mastery goals and naïve beliefs correlated with performance goals. These relationships varied over time, especially in the transition from lower to upper secondary school, which therefore is an interesting time point to study further. The interaction between achievement goals and classroom goal structures was studied by using them as joint predictors of students’ autonomous motivation and performance on the chemistry test. The most important predictor for high autonomous motivation and high test scores was strong mastery goals. This effect was enhanced when students also perceived strong mastery structures in the classroom. Conversely, mastery goals were less beneficial if students pursued performance goals simultaneously. There were also differences in the interactions between achievement goals and goal structures over school years. Together, the results imply that teachers should support students’ mastery goals through striving to create classroom environments with strong mastery structures.

In conclusion, this thesis highlights the complexity of achievement goals and their relations to other aspects of the educational context. This shows the need for future research to take, for example, the universality of achievement goal models and the importance of interaction effects into consideration.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2020. , p. 96
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar i pedagogiskt arbete, ISSN 1650-8858 ; 92
Keywords [en]
Motivation, achievement goals, chemistry, goal structures, epistemic beliefs, autonomous motivation
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
educational work; education; didactics of chemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-169630ISBN: 978-91-7855-262-7 (electronic)ISBN: 978-91-7855-261-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-169630DiVA, id: diva2:1423310
Public defence
2020-08-28, KBE303 (Stora hörsalen), KBC-huset, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Errata: Article III is in the thesis titled "Interplay between chemistry students’ achievement goals and goal structures: Do they need to match?". New title, after submitted for publication, is: "Achievement goals and classroom goal structures: Do they need to match?"

Available from: 2020-04-17 Created: 2020-04-14 Last updated: 2020-04-14Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Challenging the Universality of Achievement Goal Models: a Comparison of Two Culturally Distinct Countries
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Challenging the Universality of Achievement Goal Models: a Comparison of Two Culturally Distinct Countries
2020 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, ISSN 0031-3831, E-ISSN 1470-1170, Vol. 64, no 3, p. 333-354Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Achievement goal theory is one of the most widespread motivation models within education research. Strong empirical support exists for the trichotomous model, comprising mastery-approach, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance goals. However, research also indicate problems with model transferability between contexts. In this study, based on questionnaire data from 4201 students, we use confirmatory factor analysis to compare the factor structures of students’ achievement goals in two culturally distinct countries. Factor structures for Grades 5–11 within the two countries were also compared. Results show that the separation between performance-approach and performance-avoidance goals differs between the two countries, and that this difference is consistent over the grades. Hence, results indicate that the model is not freely transferable between countries. The results are discussed in relation to differences in national culture and other proposed explanations such as age, perceived competence, and questionnaire characteristics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2020
Keywords
achievement goals, factor structure, transferability, culture. Sweden, Germany, measurement invariance, confirmatory factor analysis
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
didactics of chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-153766 (URN)10.1080/00313831.2018.1544170 (DOI)000513310200002 ()
Projects
DOLIS
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 721-2013-2180
Available from: 2018-11-30 Created: 2018-11-30 Last updated: 2020-04-14Bibliographically approved
2. Relationships between epistemic beliefs and achievement goals: developmental trends over grades 5–11
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Relationships between epistemic beliefs and achievement goals: developmental trends over grades 5–11
2019 (English)In: European Journal of Psychology of Education, ISSN 0256-2928, E-ISSN 1878-5174, Vol. 34, no 2, p. 295-315Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Examining how students' epistemic beliefs (EB) influence their cognition is central to EB research. Recently, the relation between students' EB and their motivation has gained attention. In the present study, we investigate the development of the relationship between students' EB and their achievement goals (AG) over grades 5–11. Previous studies on this topic are limited, in both number and range, and have produced inconsistent results. We performed a cross-sectional study, ranging over grades 5–11, and a 3-year longitudinal study (n = 1230 and 323, respectively). Data on students' EB and AG were collected via questionnaires. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) supported a two-factor goal model (Mastery and Performance goals) and a structure of students' EB comprising Certainty, Source, Development, and Justification. For each grade, students' CFA scores on the respective goals were regressed on their scores on the EB dimensions by orthogonal projection to latent structures analysis. Although results indicated a weak relation between students' EB and AG, trends in the cross-sectional data were largely replicated in the longitudinal study. Though naïve EB were in general associated with performance goals and sophisticated EB with mastery goals, the transition to upper secondary school was associated with changes in the relationship between students' EB and AG. We discuss how the commonly used formulations of EB items may affect their ability to measure the naïve-sophisticated continuum, in turn affecting the predictive roles of EB dimensions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019
Keywords
Epistemic beliefs, Achievement goals, Relationship, Development, Grade 5 11, Science
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147665 (URN)10.1007/s10212-018-0391-z (DOI)000461328900002 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 721-2013-2180
Note

Originally published in thesis in manuscript form.

Available from: 2018-05-14 Created: 2018-05-14 Last updated: 2020-04-14Bibliographically approved
3. Achievement goals and classroom goal structures: Do they need to match?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Achievement goals and classroom goal structures: Do they need to match?
2020 (English)In: The Journal of educational research (Washington, D.C.), ISSN 0022-0671, E-ISSN 1940-0675, Vol. 113, no 2, p. 145-162Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is often assumed that students’ personal achievement goals are most beneficial when they match the goal structures of the classroom, but interaction between achievement goals and goal structures is not well researched. In this study, we aim at providing a nuanced picture of the direct, interaction, and nonlinear effects of achievement goals and goal structures on test performance and autonomous motivation. We used multiple linear regressions, including interaction and quadratic terms, in combination with response surface methodology to analyze questionnaire data from students in Grades 6-10. We found no evidence for a general match effect, and only weak indications of interactions between achievement goals and goal structures. Thus, the match between classroom goal structures and students’ personal goals may be less important for students’ motivation and achievement than previously assumed. Still, based on our results we recommend a focus on mastery structures in the classroom.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2020
Keywords
Achievement goal, goal structure, autonomous motivation, response surface methodology, polynomial regression
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-169627 (URN)10.1080/00220671.2020.1759495 (DOI)
Note

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form. 

Available from: 2020-04-13 Created: 2020-04-13 Last updated: 2020-05-27Bibliographically approved
4. Are mastery structures beneficial for everyone?: The interaction between mastery structures and achievement goals in grades 6-10
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Are mastery structures beneficial for everyone?: The interaction between mastery structures and achievement goals in grades 6-10
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-169629 (URN)
Available from: 2020-04-13 Created: 2020-04-13 Last updated: 2020-04-14

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