High School Students’ Motivation to Learn Mathematics: The Role of Multiple Goals

Abstract

Using a sample of 310 Year 10 Chinese students from Hong Kong, this survey study examined the effects of multiple goals in learning mathematics. Independent variables were mastery, performance-approach, performance-avoidance, and pro-social goals. Dependent variables included perceived classroom goal structures, teacher’s support, learning motives and strategies, attitudes, and grade aspiration. Based on regression and cluster analyses, this study found convergent evidence supporting the benefits of adopting additional adaptive goals alongside mastery goals. Regression analyses located significant interaction between pro-social goals and mastery goals in predicting higher levels of positive learning attitudes and lower levels of surface learning motives. Cluster analyses confirmed that students endorsing pro-social goals, performance-approach goals and mastery goals in their goal profiles had an adaptive pattern of perceptions, use of strategies, learning motives and grade aspiration in mathematics.

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Acknowledgements

The completion of research is partly funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP140101431).

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Correspondence to Chi-hung Clarence Ng.

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Ng, C.C. High School Students’ Motivation to Learn Mathematics: The Role of Multiple Goals. Int J of Sci and Math Educ 16, 357–375 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-016-9780-4

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Keywords

  • Achievement goals
  • Chinese
  • Mathematics
  • Motivation