Statement of Intent

Essay by katib_1980High School, 10th grade October 2006

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Setting personal goals regarding profession and education is a difficult task, but no doubt, most important for everyone. The role of different goal orientations in learning and achievement has been a focus of current research in achievement motivation and self-regulated learning, particularly the role of mastery and performance goals (Ames, 1992). In normative models of goal orientation, mastery goals orient students to a focus on learning and mastery of the content or task and have been related to a number of adaptive outcomes, including higher levels of efficacy, task value, interest, positive affect, effort and persistence, the use of more cognitive and meta-cognitive strategies, as well as better performance. In contrast, performance goals orient students to a concern for their ability and performance relative to others and seem to focus the students on goals of doing better than others or of avoiding looking incompetent or less able in comparison to others.

In this normative view of performance goals, performance goals are generally seen as less adaptive in terms of subsequent motivation, affect, strategy use, and performance (Dweck & Leggett, 1988).

However, there may be situations where performance goals may not be maladaptive. For example, Harackiewicz and Elliot and their colleagues (e.g., Harackiewicz, Barron, Carter, Lehto, & Elliot, 1997) have shown that performance goals can result in better performance and achievement, whereas mastery goals are linked to more intrinsic interest in the task. In this revised goal theory perspective, an important distinction has been made by a number of different researchers between approach performance goals and avoidance performance goals. Students who are focused on approach performance goals are oriented to doing better than others and to demonstrating their ability and competence, in other words, approaching tasks in terms of trying to outperform others. In contrast, under an avoidance performance orientation, students...