Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 215–235 | Cite as

The social utility of performance-approach goals in a selective educational environment

  • Mickaël Jury
  • Céline Darnon
  • Benoit Dompnier
  • Fabrizio Butera
Article

Abstract

According to the recent research, the educational system fulfills both an educational function (i.e., teaching and training students) and a selection function (i.e., determining students’ future position in the social hierarchy), particularly in higher education. It has been argued that in the university system the selection function provides a social utility value to performance-approach goals (i.e., the goal to demonstrate one’s own competences relative to others), which in turn increases the extent to which students endorse these goals. Two experiments investigated the influence of the salience of the selection function on performance-approach goals’ social value and endorsement. The results showed that the salience of the selection function increased both performance-approach goal endorsement (experiment 1 and 2) and performance-approach goals’ social utility (experiment 2). These goals’ social utility contributes to explaining the effect of the salience of the selection function on performance-approach goal endorsement. Limitations of the present experiments and practical implications are discussed.

Keywords

Motivation Achievement goals Selection Higher education Social value 

References

  1. Alon, S. (2009). The evolution of class inequality in higher education: Competition, exclusion, and adaptation. American Sociological Review, 74(5), 731–755. doi:10.1177/000312240907400503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ames, C. (1992). Classrooms: Goals, structures, and student motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84(3), 261–271. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.84.3.261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berger, N., & Archer, J. (2016). School socio-economic status and student socio-academic achievement goals in upper secondary contexts. Social Psychology of Education, 19(1), 175–194. doi:10.1007/s11218-015-9324-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blumenfeld, P. C. (1992). Classroom learning and motivation: Clarifying and expanding goal theory. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84(3), 272–281. doi:10.1037//0022-0663.84.3.272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bourdieu, P., Passeron, J.-C., & Nice, R. (1990). Reproduction in education, society and culture (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Brophy, J. (2005). Goal theorists should move on from performance goals. Educational Psychologist, 40(3), 167–176. doi:10.1207/s15326985ep4003_3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Butler, R., & Neuman, O. (1995). Effects of task and ego achievement goals on help-seeking behaviors and attitudes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 87(2), 261–271. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.87.2.261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen, C. (2015). Incremental validity of achievement goals in predicting subjective well-being among university students. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 14(1), 38–62. doi:10.1891/1945-8959.14.1.38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Corker, K. S., Donnellan, M. B., & Bowles, R. P. (2013). The development of achievement goals throughout college: Modeling stability and change. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39(11), 1404–1417. doi:10.1177/0146167213494243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crouzevialle, M., & Butera, F. (2013). Performance-approach goals deplete working memory and impair cognitive performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 142(3), 666–678. doi:10.1037/a0029632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cury, F., Elliot, A. J., Da Fonseca, D., & Moller, A. C. (2006). The social-cognitive model of achievement motivation and the 2 × 2 achievement goal framework. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90(4), 666–679. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.90.4.666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Darnon, C., & Butera, F. (2005). Buts d’accomplissement, stratégies d’étude, et motivation intrinsèque : présentation d’un domaine de recherche et validation française de l’échelle d’Elliot et McGregor (2001) [Achievement goals, study strategies, and intrinsic motivation: Presenting a domain of research and the French validation of Elliot and McGregor’s (2001) scale]. L’année Psychologique, 105(1), 105–131. doi:10.3406/psy.2005.3821.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Darnon, C., Butera, F., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2007a). Achievement goals in social interactions: Learning with mastery vs. performance goals. Motivation and Emotion, 31(1), 61–70. doi:10.1007/s11031-006-9049-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Darnon, C., Dompnier, B., Delmas, F., Pulfrey, C., & Butera, F. (2009). Achievement goal promotion at university: Social desirability and social utility of mastery and performance goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(1), 119–134. doi:10.1037/a0012824.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Darnon, C., Dompnier, B., & Poortvliet, M. (2012). Achievement goals in educational contexts: A social psychology perspective. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 6(10), 760–771. doi:10.1111/j.1751-9004.2012.00457.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Darnon, C., Harackiewicz, J. M., Butera, F., Mugny, G., & Quiamzade, A. (2007b). Performance-approach and performance avoidance goals: When uncertainty makes a difference. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33(6), 813–827. doi:10.1177/0146167207301022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dompnier, B., Darnon, C., & Butera, F. (2009). Faking the desire to learn: A clarification of the link between mastery goals and academic achievement. Psychological Science, 20(8), 939–943. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02384.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dompnier, B., Darnon, C., & Butera, F. (2013). When performance-approach goals predict academic achievement and when they do not: A social value approach. British Journal of Social Psychology, 52(3), 587–596. doi:10.1111/bjso.12025.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dompnier, B., Darnon, C., Delmas, F., & Butera, F. (2008). Achievement goals and social judgment: The performance-approach goals paradox. Revue Internationale de Psychologie Sociale, 21(1), 247–271.Google Scholar
  20. Dornbusch, S. M., Glasgow, K. L., & Lin, I.-C. (1996). The social structure of schooling. Annual Review of Psychology, 47, 401–429. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.47.1.401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dubet, F., & Duru-Bellat, M. (2004). Qu’est-ce qu’une école juste ? [What is a fair school?]. Revue Française de Pédagogie, 146(1), 105–114. doi:10.3406/rfp.2004.3099.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dubois, N., & Beauvois, J.-L. (2005). Normativeness and individualism. European Journal of Social Psychology, 35, 123–146. doi:10.1002/ejsp.236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Duru-Bellat, M. (1996). Social inequalities in French secondary schools: From figures to theories. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 17(3), 341–350. doi:10.1080/0142569960170307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Elliot, A. J. (2005). A conceptual history of the achievement goal construct. In A. J. Elliot & C. S. Dweck (Eds.), Handbook of competence and motivation (pp. 52–72). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  25. Elliot, A. J., & McGregor, H. A. (2001). A 2 × 2 achievement goal framework. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80(3), 501–519. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.80.3.501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Elliot, A. J., Murayama, K., & Pekrun, R. (2011). A 3 × 2 achievement goal model. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(3), 632–648. doi:10.1037/a0023952.
  27. Gneezy, U., Leonard, K. L., & List, J. A. (2009). Gender differences in competition: Evidence from a matrilineal and a patriarchal society. Econometrica, 77(5), 1637–1664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Grant, H., & Dweck, C. S. (2003). Clarifying achievement goals and their impact. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(3), 541–553. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.85.3.541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Harackiewicz, J., Barron, K., & Elliot, A. (1998). Rethinking achievement goals: When are they adaptive for college students and why? Educational Psychologist, 33(1), 1–21. doi:10.1207/s15326985ep3301_1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Harackiewicz, J. M., Barron, K. E., Pintrich, P. R., Elliot, A. J., & Thrash, T. M. (2002). Revision of achievement goal theory: Necessary and illuminating. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(3), 638–645. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.94.3.638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Harackiewicz, J. M., Barron, K. E., Tauer, J. M., Carter, S. M., & Elliot, A. J. (2000). Short-term and long-term consequences of achievement goals: Predicting interest and performance over time. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(2), 316–330. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.92.2.316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jury, M., Smeding, A., & Darnon, C. (2015). First-generation students’ underperformance at university: The impact of the function of selection. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 710. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kaplan, A., & Maehr, M. L. (1999). Achievement goals and student well-being. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 24(4), 330–358. doi:10.1006/ceps.1999.0993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kaplan, A., & Middleton, M. J. (2002). Should childhood be a journey or a race? Response to Harackiewicz et al. (2002). Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(3), 646–648. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.94.3.646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Levy, I., Kaplan, A., & Patrick, H. (2004). Early adolescents’ achievement goals, social status, and attitudes towards cooperation with peers. Social Psychology of Education, 7(2), 127–159. doi:10.1023/B:SPOE.0000018547.08294.b6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lieberman, D. A., & Remedios, R. (2007). Do undergraduates’ motives for studying change as they progress through their degrees? British Journal of Educational Psychology, 77(2), 379–395. doi:10.1348/000709906X157772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Maehr, M., & Midgley, C. (1991). Enhancing student motivation: A schoolwide approach. Educational Psychologist, 26(3), 399–427. doi:10.1207/s15326985ep2603&4_9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Meece, J. L., Anderman, E. M., & Anderman, L. H. (2006). Classroom goal structure, student motivation, and academic achievement. Annual Review of Psychology, 57, 487–503. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.56.091103.070258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Moller, A. C., & Elliot, A. J. (2006). The 2 × 2 achievement goal framework: An overview of empirical research. In A. V. Mittel (Ed.), Focus on educational psychology (pp. 307–326). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.Google Scholar
  40. Murayama, K., & Elliot, A. J. (2012). The competition–performance relation: A meta-analytic review and test of the opposing processes model of competition and performance. Psychological Bulletin, 138(6), 1035–1070. doi:10.1037/a0028324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Nicholls, J. G. (1989). The competitive ethos and democratic education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Nichols, W. D., Jones, J. P., & Hancock, D. R. (2003). Teachers’ influence on goal orientation: Exploring the relationship between eighth graders’ goal orientation, their emotional development, their perceptions of learning, and their teachers’ instructional strategies. Reading Psychology, 24(1), 57–85. doi:10.1080/02702710308236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Niederle, M., & Vesterlund, L. (2008). Gender differences in competition. Negotiation Journal, 24(4), 447–463. doi:10.1111/j.1571-9979.2008.00197.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pekrun, R., Cusack, A., Murayama, K., Elliot, A. J., & Thomas, K. (2014). The power of anticipated feedback: Effects on students’ achievement goals and achievement emotions. Learning and Instruction, 29, 115–124. doi:10.1016/j.learninstruc.2013.09.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Poortvliet, P. M., & Darnon, C. (2014). Understanding positive attitudes toward helping peers: The role of mastery goals and academic self-efficacy. Self and Identity, 13(3), 345–363. doi:10.1080/15298868.2013.832363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Poortvliet, M., Janssen, O., Van Yperen, N. W., & Van de Vliert, E. (2007). Achievement goals and interpersonal behavior: How mastery and performance goals shape information exchange. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33(10), 1435–1447. doi:10.1177/0146167207305536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pope, D. C. (2001). Doing school: How we are creating a generation of stressed out, materialistic, and miseducated students. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Contemporary approaches to assessing mediation in communication research. In A. F. Hayes, M. D. Slater, & L. B. Snyder (Eds.), The Sage sourcebook of advanced data analysis methods for communication research (pp. 13–54). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Prentice, D. A., & Carranza, E. (2002). What women and men should be, shouldn’t be, are allowed to be, and don’t have to be: The contents of prescriptive gender stereotypes. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 26(4), 269–281. doi:10.1111/1471-6402.t01-1-00066.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Senko, C., Hulleman, C. S., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2011). Achievement goal theory at the crossroads: Old controversies, current challenges, and new directions. Educational Psychologist, 46(1), 26–47. doi:10.1080/00461520.2011.538646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Skaalvik, E. M., & Federici, R. A. (2016). Relations between classroom goal structures and students’ goal orientations in mathematics classes: When is a mastery goal structure adaptive? Social Psychology of Education, 19(1), 135–150. doi:10.1007/s11218-015-9323-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Skaalvik, E. M., & Skaalvik, S. (2013). School goal structure: Associations with students’ perceptions of their teachers as emotionally supportive, academic self-concept, intrinsic motivation, effort, and help seeking behavior. International Journal of Educational Research, 61, 5–14. doi:10.1016/j.ijer.2013.03.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Smeding, A., Darnon, C., Souchal, C., Toczek-Capelle, M.-C., & Butera, F. (2013). Reducing the socio-economic status achievement gap at University by promoting mastery-oriented assessment. PLoS One, 8(8), e71678. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sommet, N., Darnon, C., Mugny, G., Quiamzade, A., Pulfrey, C., Dompnier, B., et al. (2014). Performance goals in conflictual social interactions: Towards the distinction between two modes of relational conflict regulation. British Journal of Social Psychology, 53(1), 134–153. doi:10.1111/bjso.12015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Stewart, M., Stott, T., & Nuttall, A.-M. (2015). Study goals and procrastination tendencies at different stages of the undergraduate degree. Studies in Higher Education,. doi:10.1080/03075079.2015.1005590.Google Scholar
  56. Urdan, T., & Schoenfelder, E. (2006). Classroom effects on student motivation: Goal structures, social relationships, and competence beliefs. Journal of School Psychology, 44(5), 331–349. doi:10.1016/j.jsp.2006.04.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Van Yperen, N. W., Blaga, M., & Postmes, T. (2014). A meta-analysis of self-reported achievement goals and nonself-report performance across three achievement domains (work, sports, and education). PLoS One, 9(4), e93594. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Van Yperen, N. W., & Leander, N. P. (2014). The overpowering effect of social comparison information: On the misalignment between mastery-based goals and self-evaluation criteria. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40(5), 676–688. doi:10.1177/0146167214523475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wang, M.-T., & Degol, J. L. (2015). School climate: A review of the construct, measurement, and impact on student outcomes. Educational Psychology Review,. doi:10.1007/s10648-015-9319-1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale et CognitiveUniversité Clermont AuvergneClermont-Ferrand, CedexFrance
  2. 2.University of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations