Academic goals, goal process cognition, and exam performance among college students

Morris A. Okun, Chris Fairholme, Paul Karoly, Linda S. Ruehlman, Craig Newton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

We investigated the nature of and linkages between student-generated academic goals, individual differences in self-regulatory thinking (goal process cognition), and exam performance among college students. In Study 1 (N = 365) and in Study 2 (N = 325), we elicited students' self-ascribed most important academic goals for introductory psychology and their goal process cognition toward their most important goal. In addition, in Study 2, we collected data on students' exam scores in introductory psychology and their most important academic goal and goal process cognition for another course. Three types of academic goals were identified: performance (39-55%), mastery (22-39%), and study strategies (20-23%). Students with mastery academic goals had the highest positive arousal whereas students with performance academic goals had the highest negative arousal. Compared to students with performance academic goals, students with mastery academic goals had lower exam scores in introductory psychology and this difference was mediated, in part, by goal process cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-265
Number of pages11
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 31 2006

Keywords

  • Academic goals
  • Achievement
  • Arousal
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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