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Shaping achievement goal orientations in a mastery-structured environment and concomitant changes in related contingencies of self-worth

Abstract

Across three time-points spanning 9 months, changes in achievement goal orientations and contingencies of self-worth were assessed as a function of participating in a mastery-structured academic program for high-ability adolescents (N = 126). Endorsement of mastery goal orientations increased during the program and remained high even after students returned to their home learning environments. In contrast, performance-approach and performance-avoidance goal orientations decreased during the summer program, but returned to previous levels when assessed 6 months later. Latent growth curve models assessed the covariation of performance goal orientations and two contingencies of self-worth (outperforming others and others’ approval) hypothesized to represent elements of performance goal orientations. Changes in the contingency of self-worth based on outperforming others positively covaried with observed changes in both performance goal orientations; however, changes in self-worth contingent on others’ approval did not. Results are discussed in terms of mastery-structured environments’ potential to alter achievement goal orientations via their underlying psychological processes. Implications for achievement goal theory and the design of achievement-oriented environments are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

The research reported in this manuscript was supported by a grant from the Duke Talent Identification Program to Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia. The findings and views reported in this manuscript are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect the views of Duke TIP. We also wish to thank Chongming Yang for his contributions to the present research.

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Correspondence to Paul A. O’Keefe.

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O’Keefe, P.A., Ben-Eliyahu, A. & Linnenbrink-Garcia, L. Shaping achievement goal orientations in a mastery-structured environment and concomitant changes in related contingencies of self-worth. Motiv Emot 37, 50–64 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-012-9293-6

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Keywords

  • Achievement goals
  • Achievement motivation
  • Classroom context
  • Contingencies of self-worth
  • Goal orientations