Achievement Goals as Performance Predictors in College Physical Activity Courses

Friday, April 3, 2009
Exhibit Hall RC Poster Sessions (Tampa Convention Center)
Bulent Agbuga1, Ping Xiang2, Ron E. McBride2, Ferman Konukman3, Ilker Yilmaz4 and Ridvan Ekmekci1, (1)Pamukkale University, Denizli, Turkey, (2)Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, (3)State University of New YorkCollege at Brockport, Brockport, NY, (4)Anadolu University, Eskisehir, Turkey
Purpose Though the relationships between students' achievement goals and their course performance (measured by final grades) have been extensively examined in the domain of academics (Harackiewicz, Barron, Carter, Lehto, & Elliot, 1997; Mattern, 2005; Meece & Holt, 1993; Pintrich & Garcia, 1991), little is known concerning such relationships in college physical activity settings. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to utilize the trichotomous achievement goal framework (mastery, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance goals) to examine whether achievement goals endorsed by students were related to their performance in college physical activity classes.

Methods One hundred and fifty eight Turkish college students (116 males; 42 females), who were enrolled in 90-minute tennis, swimming, and track and field classes that were held twice a week over one semester, completed an 18-item, 7-point Likert scale questionnaire assessing mastery, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance goals. Students' performance in these classes was measured by the final grades they received, which were obtained from their departmental records. All questionnaire items were modified from previous research and subjected to factor analysis.

Analysis/Results Descriptive statistics indicated the mean scores of the mastery (M = 6.14, SD = .73), performance-approach (M = 5.40, SD = 1.21) and performance-avoidance goals (M = 4.97, SD = 1.34) were all above the midpoint (i.e., 4) of the scales, suggesting students in this study endorsed all three achievement goals. Simple correlations revealed mastery goals were significantly positively related to and performance-avoidance goals were significantly negatively related to students' final grades (r = .166, ρ < .05, r = -.178, ρ < .05, respectively). A multiple regression analysis indicated mastery goals emerged as a significant positive predictor (β = .193, ρ = .03) and performance-avoidance goals emerged as a significant negative predictor (β = -.210, ρ = .01) of students' final grades in physical activity classes. The two predictors together explained 13% of the variance in students' final grades.

Conclusions Findings of this study are consistent with previous classroom studies that students who endorsed mastery goals made higher grades than students who did not endorse mastery goals (Grant & Dweck, 2003; Mattern, 2005; Meece & Holt, 1993; Young, 2007). They also provide additional support for the notion that mastery goals are beneficial for a wide range of educational outcomes (Ames, 1992; Dweck & Leggett, 1988; Harackiewicz et al., 1997). To enhance students' performance in college physical activity classes, teachers should do their best to promote mastery goals among them.