Identifying the patterns of students’ goal orientations  

Sorić I., Burić I., Vulić-prtorić A.
First author's affiliation: Department of Psychology, Zadar, Croatia

There are a number of different models of goal orientations in academic settings that have been developed by different researchers. The most of these models propose two general goal orientations that concern the reasons students are pursuing when approaching and engaging in a learning task. They are labelled learning and performance goals (Pintrich, 2003). Niemivirta (1996) distinguished a third type of goal orientation: work-avoidance goal orientation. The aim of this study was to examine classification of students into groups considering different goal orientations and to compare those groups in some other variables relevant for self-regulated learning process (gender, general self-esteem, academic self-efficacy, values, perceived academic control, academic achievement and expectancy of future academic achievement). The participants were 335 adolescents (aged between 13 and 17 years) which completed the questionnaires anonymously during a regularly scheduled classroom period. K-means cluster analysis was used to classify students into four groups according to their pattern of goal orientations: first group consisted of students with very low score on learning goal orientation and very high score on performance and work-avoidance goal orientations; second group consisted of students with very low score on learning and performance goals and very high score on work-avoidance goal orientations; third group included students with very high score on all goal orientations and fourth group included students with very high score on learning orientations and low score on performance and work-avoidance orientations. Obtained statistical analyses revealed differences between identified groups of students concerning their academic self-efficacy, learning task value, perception of academic control, and expectancy of future academic achievement. Particularly, the second group students have the lowest self-esteem, the lowest perceived academic control, the lowest expectancy of future achievement and they do not value learning tasks very highly.