, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 127-159

Early Adolescents' Achievement Goals, Social Status, and Attitudes Towards Cooperation with Peers

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This qualitative study used a semi-structured interview with 50 fifth grade Israeli students to investigate the relations among achievement goals and social identity processes that concern orientation towards social structure and status in the classroom, and preference and willingness to cooperate with peers from different social groups. Mastery-oriented students were found to evaluate cooperation with respect to its contribution to learning, friendship, and class cohesion, and to be willing to cooperate with peers regardless of their social group membership. Performance-approach and performance-avoidance oriented students were found to evaluate cooperation with regard to its implications for social status, and to prefer to cooperate with peers of the in-group and with high status peers. Performance-avoidance oriented students with low social status were found to also adopt a defensive avoidant orientation in the social domain.