Students' Goal Orientations and Cognitive Engagement in Classroom Activities


Journal Article

We used structural equation analysis to test the validity of a goal mediational model for conceptualizing the influence of individual and situational variables on students' cognitive engagement in science activities. Fifth- and sixth-grade students (N = 275) from 10 classrooms completed a set of questionnaires designed to assess their goal orientations and their use of high-level or effort-minimizing learning strategies while completing six different science activities. Results indicate that students who placed greater emphasis on task-mastery goals reported more active cognitive engagement. In contrast, students oriented toward gaining social recognition, pleasing the teacher, or avoiding work reported a lower level of cognitive engagement. The relative strength of these goals was related to differences in students' intrinsic motivation and attitudes toward science. Our analyses also suggested that these variables exerted a greater influence in small-group than in whole-class activities.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Meece, JL; Blumenfeld, PC; Hoyle, RH

Published Date

  • January 1, 1988

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 80 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 514 - 523

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-0663

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/0022-0663.80.4.514

Citation Source

  • Scopus