Article Review on Motivation in Psychology

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Jagacinski, C.A. (2010). Changes in achievement goals and competence perceptions across the college semester. Motivation & Emotion, 34(2), 191-204 Retrieved from EBSCOhost. This study focused on the relationship between perceptions of competence and changes in achievement goals in a college semester for students enrolled in an introductory psychology course. This current research will test the predictions of how changes in the conceived ability should influence changes in achievement goals. Achievement goals play such an important role in a student’s performance. The two types of achievement goals are mastery and performance goals. Mastery goals are when the students are more concerned with developing their own skills and that learning is an end in itself. Performance goals are when students compare their competence with others thereby competing. Performance goals are even further divided into performance-approach (fueled by achievement motivation and a perceived high competence) and performance-avoidance (fear of failure and low competence perceptions). The expectations in this study are that the increases in self-efficacy for learning to be related to increases in approach goals while decreasing performance avoidance goals. An assumption is made here that a low grade on an early exam may lead students to doubt their abilities therefore both mastery and performance-approach goals may decline. The study will test for changes in the level of achievement goals and examine changes that can be accounted for by changes in perception of competence. Originally 162 students were used in this study although at the end for various reasons, it declined to 142. The majority were white with a median age of 19 and 53% of these students were in their first semester of college. The study represented 13 different colleges with the students enrolled in 6 different sections of the course. Instructors weren’t aware of which students were participating in the study...
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