Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 65–78 | Cite as

The relation between achievement goal and expectancy-value theories in predicting achievement-related outcomes: A test of four theoretical conceptions

  • Isabelle PlanteEmail author
  • Paul A. O’Keefe
  • Manon Théorêt
Original Paper


Although achievement goal and expectancy-value theories are both dominant in the achievement motivation literature, the relation between goals and expectancy-value variables in predicting achievement-related behaviors remains unclear. The present study evaluated the empirical validity of four contrasting theoretical conceptions which posit that (1) goals and expectancy-value variables are independent predictors of achievement-related outcomes (2) goals predict expectancy-values, (3) goals mediate the relation between expectancies and task-values, and (4) goals partially mediate the relation between expectancy-values and achievement outcomes, in predicting course performance, career intentions and academic aspirations. Path models evaluating these conceptions were tested separately in mathematics and language arts domains among 697 6th and 8th grade students. Results supported the fourth theoretical approach suggesting that expectancy-value variables predict achievement-related outcomes both directly and indirectly through achievement goals. These findings provide insight about the relation between expectancy-value and achievement goal theories and highlight their complementary role in predicting achievement behaviors.


Academic aspirations Course performance Career intentions Expectancy-value Achievement goals Motivation 



We are grateful to Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia for her thoughtful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. Funding: This work was supported by a doctoral scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada [scholarship number 767-2006-2303] to the first author.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabelle Plante
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Paul A. O’Keefe
    • 2
  • Manon Théorêt
    • 3
  1. 1.Département d’éducation et formation spécialiséesUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  3. 3.Département de psychopédagogie et d’andragogieUniversité de MontréalMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Université de MontréalMontrealCanada

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