The interrelations of goals, knowledge monitoring, strategic help seeking, and achievement among high school students of different cultures

Hyacinth Ugwuezumba Njoku, Fordham University


Drawing on a sample of Nigerian (N = 166) and American (N = 164) high school students, the present study examines the interrelations between cultural, motivational, and self-regulatory processes and achievement. In line with current motivational theory and research, motivation in this study is defined according to the 2 x 2-achievement goal framework. Specifically, an aim of this study was to explore whether differential patterns of goal endorsement would emerge culturally, and to investigate how such differences would impact the relations between achievement goals, self-regulation (defined in this study as knowledge monitoring and help-seeking) and mathematics performance. Overall, exploratory factor analyses resulted in the differentiation of four goals with some differences across groups, indicating further support for the 2 x 2-goal framework. In line with prior research, hierarchical regression analyses demonstrated that the goals accounted for a significant portion of the variance of knowledge monitoring, help-seeking, and achievement. Specifically, mastery-approach goals were found to be a positive predictor of both knowledge monitoring and achievement. In contrast, mastery-avoidance goals were found to be negatively related to knowledge monitoring. The relations between knowledge monitoring and help-seeking were mixed. Knowledge monitoring was a positive predictor of the review of difficult problems and mediated the relation between mastery-approach goals and achievement. However, unexpectedly, it was also a positive predictor of the review of easy problems and a negative predictor of familiar but difficult problems. In terms of cultural differences, a significant interaction was found between cultural groups and mastery-approach goals, suggesting that the gains in knowledge monitoring due to the pursuit of mastery-approach goals were far greater for American students than for Nigerian students. In fact, mastery-approach goals related more positively to performance outcomes in the American sample than in the Nigerian sample; mastery-avoidance goals related more negatively to outcomes in the Nigerian than in the American sample. Unexpected results were explained relative to intervening variables of age, socioeconomic status, methodology, testing conditions, and task difficulty.

Subject Area

Mathematics education|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Njoku, Hyacinth Ugwuezumba, "The interrelations of goals, knowledge monitoring, strategic help seeking, and achievement among high school students of different cultures" (2007). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3262846.