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Learning goal orientation in high ability and average ability students: Developmental trajectories, contextual predictors, and long-term educational outcomes

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Learning goal orientation is a prominent motivational construct that has been linked to positive student outcomes. For high-ability students, a lack of mastery learning goals has been theoretically and empirically associated with underachievement. However, longitudinal research examining the development and outcomes of their learning goal orientation over time, and comparing this development to that of average ability peers, is lacking. In this study, we utilized a sample of 5,172 students to study the development of learning goal orientation in high-ability versus average-ability students across late elementary and early secondary school. Additionally, we investigated the impact of perceived learning support from peers and teachers on this development. Finally, we examined the predictive value of learning goal orientation for the secondary school outcomes grade retention and non-academic track pursuit. We found that high ability students had lower initial learning goal orientation than their peers, and this remained lower across the transition to secondary school. Learning goal orientation declined on average for both groups of students. Perceived learning support from teachers and peers was found to be a general supportive factor to the development of learning goal orientation. Levels of learning goal orientation in late elementary school were found to influence study track choice at the end of secondary education for both groups of students. Our findings affirm that learning motivation in middle school has lasting implications in later stages of education, justifying the current pedagogical trend of addressing student achievement outcomes through targeting their school motivation and engagement.
Tijdschrift: Journal of Educational Psychology
ISSN: 0022-0663
Issue: 2
Volume: 113
Pagina's: 370 - 389
Jaar van publicatie:2021