ACHIEVEMENT GOALS AND OTHER IMPORTANT LEARNING VARIABLES IN THE COMPLETION OF A COURSE ASSIGNMENT AMONG UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
Ng, C.H., Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Using an achievement goal framework, this study investigated the motivational and cognitive processes involving in the completion of a course assignment among 443 undergraduate students in a distance learning university. According to their ratings of four achievement goals related to the completion of an assignment (mastery, performance-approach, performance-avoidance and extrinsic goals), participants were classified into three different groups (multiple-goal achievers, balanced-goal achievers and performance-oriented achievers) using k-means clustering method. MANOVA analyses showed that multiple-goal and balanced-goal achievers used more deep and regulated strategies, demonstrated a higher level of persistence, spent more time and developed more coherent arguments when completing the assignment than did the performance-oriented achievers. In addition, the former two groups relative to the latter one considered the assignment more interesting and important, had a stronger sense of efficacy in completing it, and were more ready to reflect on the marker's feedback. In contrast, performance-oriented achievers showed a greater level of anxiety in completing the assignment. As expected, performance- oriented achievers had relatively lower results than did the other two groups. It was also found that multiple-goal achievers were relatively more anxious in completing the assignment than did the balanced-goal achievers, which was attributed to the greater concern of assignment grade among multiple-goal achievers. The significance of this study lies in its successful application of achievement goal theory to understand the motivational and learning processes related to a specific task among distance learners.