Encouraging Mastery in the Classroom: The Effect of Goal Orientation on Academic Performance
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Type of Work46 p.
action research papers
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SubjectsEducation -- Research papers (Graduate)
Education -- Aims and objectives -- Research
Goal (Psychology) -- Research
Academic achievement -- Research
The purposes of this study were to determine whether a relationship exists between students’ goal orientation (performance or mastery) and their performance on written English Language Arts (ELA) responses to reading passages and to determine whether students’ mindsets could be influenced through direct teaching about the mind’s ability to grow and through offering feedback highlighting specific improvements made and suggesting targets for improvement. The mindset of 23 third graders from a Maryland public school was assessed using a self-report questionnaire. Students then were then randomly assigned to matched control and treatment groups containing students of mastery and performance goal orientation. Students’ initial ELA scores were correlated with self-ratings of goal orientation to determine whether goal orientation significantly related to success on the ELA tasks. In an effort to foster mastery orientation, over the course of four weeks, students in the treatment group were shown a series of slideshows about the brain’s ability to grow. After completing written assignments, students in the treatment group were provided written feedback, reflected on their work and set learning goals using a standardized form and process. Students in the control group received feedback in the usual way and were not shown the slideshows. No significant correlation was found between students’ initial goal orientations and performance on written responses. The null hypotheses that changes mindset ratings of the initially performance oriented students in the treatment and control groups would not differ and that the gains in ELA scores of the initially performance- oriented students in the treatment and control group would not differ also were retained. Further research regarding the development of mastery orientation and the relationship between mindset and achievement appears to be warranted.