European Journal of Psychology of Education

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 147–167 | Cite as

Developmental trajectories of goal orientations and math skills from grades 7 to 9

  • Kaja MädamürkEmail author
  • Eve Kikas


The current study focuses on the developmental trajectories of mastery and performance goal orientations and their relationships with math skills along with math tasks left unanswered. The sample included 476 students from grades 7 to 9 (mean age at the beginning of the study = 13 years). Goal orientations were assessed with questionnaires and math skills with tests. The tasks were the same at all study points. Latent profile and latent transition analysis were used to find profile groups and developmental trajectories. Four profile groups emerged in grade 7 and five groups in grades 8 and 9. The most stable group throughout the years showed high mastery goals, average performance goals, and high math skills in grades 7 and 8; thus, high mastery goals together with somewhat lower performance goals supported good math skills. Moreover, only few students who had somewhat higher performance goals compared with mastery goals in grade 8 moved to the high math skill group in grade 9. Still, math skills had a more dominating role in formation of the profiles than goal orientations; thus, the role of goal orientations may not be essential for all of the students.


Goal orientations Math skills Middle school Person-oriented approach 



This study was supported by institutional research funding IUT (3-3) of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research.


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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisboa, Portugal and Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tallinn UniversityTallinnEstonia

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