Achievement goals, interest, study strategies, and academic achievement

Thomas Anthony Costello, Fordham University


This study used cluster analysis to examine whether undergraduates with high-mastery/high-performance-approach (i.e., HM/HP) and high-mastery/low-performance-approach goals (i.e., HM/LP) sustained their academic performance throughout a semester, used more deep processing study strategies, and were more interested than those with low-mastery/high-performance-approach (i.e., LM/HP) and low-mastery/low-performance-approach (i.e., LM/LP) goal profiles. One hundred nineteen undergraduates enrolled in Introductory Biology and 57 students in an Introductory Psychology course completed achievement goal questionnaires in the beginning of the semester, as well as interest and study strategy questionnaires mid-way through the semester. Academic achievement was measured over time on course exams throughout the semester. Cluster analysis was used to classify students according to their multiple goal profiles. Results indicated no statistically significant differences between the achievement goal profiles on academic achievement over the beginning, middle, and end of course exams. Participants in the HM/HP and HM/LP clusters used significantly more deep processing study strategies and had more personal interest than the LM/HP cluster. Finally, it was hypothesized that student interest in the course and their use of deep processing study strategies would mediate the relation between mastery goals and academic achievement. While mastery goals were not significantly related to final course grade, an indirect path was found through deep processing study strategies. Results are discussed in terms of the multiple-goal perspective of achievement goal theory.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Costello, Thomas Anthony, "Achievement goals, interest, study strategies, and academic achievement" (2011). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3461869.