• Umesh Dewnarain RamnarainEmail author
  • Sam Ramaila


This study investigated the achievement goals orientation of first year physics students at a South African university. The mixed methods design involved a quantitative survey of 291 students using an achievement goals questionnaire and individual interviews of selected participants. Results showed that the students perceived they have a stronger mastery goals orientation than performance goals and performance avoidance goals orientations. Multiple regression analysis in testing the mastery goals model indicated that the participants’ perceptions of teacher and peer goal emphases made the largest unique contribution to their orientation. It is suggested that at the tertiary level such an orientation should be promoted through learning experiences such as inquiry-based learning, which has been associated with this orientation.


achievement goals orientation mastery goals orientation motivation performance goals orientation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Science and Technology Education, Faculty of EducationUniversity of JohannesburgAuckland ParkSouth Africa
  2. 2.Physics DepartmentUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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