Achievement goals, observed behaviors, and performance: Testing a mediation model in a college classroom

J. Elizabeth RicheyUniversity of Pittsburgh
Timothy J. Nokes-MalachUniversity of Pittsburgh
Aleza WallaceUniversity of Pittsburgh

Abstract

Achievement goals have been examined extensively in relationship to self-reported learning behaviors and achievement, yet very little work has observed the behaviors through which achievement goals might influence learning and performance. We collected fine-grained behavioral data to assess students’ activities throughout the semester in a college psychology course, and then used one learning behavior, access to course outlines, to explain the relationship between self-reported achievement goals and grades. Results suggest that downloading course outlines partially mediates the relationship between goals and grades. Identifying how goals influence achievement through observable behaviors contributes to the theoretical understanding of achievement goals while also suggesting practical implications for instructors.

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