Prior Academic Achievement, Effort, and Achievement Goal Orientations: A Longitudinal Examination

Huy P. Phan


Empirical research has provided evidence attesting to the potency of two major theoretical frameworks in
teaching and learning, namely, achievement goals and effort. The testing of achievement goals and effort in
various cross-sectional studies (Dupeyrat & Mariné, 2005; Elliot, McGregor, & Gable, 1999; Fenollar, Román,
& Cuestas, 2007) has yielded findings that indicate their positive effects on academic achievement, directly and
indirectly via means of other internal cognitive processes. We used latent growth modeling (LGM) procedures to
identify and trace the initial states and change in mastery and performance-approach goals, and how they
influence academic achievement in mathematics over time. Furthermore, aligning closely to social cognitive
theory (Bandura, 1986, 1997), we explore the effects of prior academic achievement and effort on achievement
goals and mathematic achievement. This examination involved 234 university students (97 females, 137 males)
across six time points: prior academic achievement at Time 1, effort at Time 2, mastery and
performance-approach goals at Time 3 to Time 5, and mathematic achievement at Time 6. Existing Likert-scale
inventories were used to measure effort, mastery and performance-approach goals. Our LGM analyses indicated
a decline in mastery goals and an increase in performance-approach goals over time. Both effort and prior
academic achievement influenced the initial states of mastery and performance-approach goals, respectively.
Likewise, prior academic achievement and effort contributed to the prediction of mathematic achievement at
Time 6.

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Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology   ISSN 1927-0526 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0534 (Online)

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