The link between students' achievement goals and perceptions of the classroom environment

Lindsay Beth Popilskis, Fordham University


Achievement goal theory examines students' behaviors and predicts educationally relevant outcomes. Achievement goals and classroom goal structures may influence the meaning and value of a classroom subject. Few studies have examined the integrative relationship between personal achievement goals and classroom goal structures. This study examined the extent to which agreement of goal structures and personal goal orientations influence students' adopted achievement goals and their interest within a course. The sample consisted of 434 students and 38 teachers in one high school. Students completed measures referring to their achievement goals from the Patterns of Adaptive Learning Scales. Toward the end of the same year, students completed the same aforementioned scales, with the addition of measures assessing their perceived classroom goal structure and the Situational Interest Scale. Teachers responded to measures of their perceived classroom goal structure, also from Patterns of Adaptive Learning Scales. An agreement score was computed to ascertain whether the teacher and students' perception of the classroom environment led to adopted goals. Results from hierarchical linear models demonstrated mastery-goal-structure agreement scores were predictive of mastery goal adoption such that classes with more mastery-goal-structure agreement among teachers and students had higher levels of mastery goal adoption. Additionally, the mastery agreement score moderated the relationships between incoming mastery orientation and interest. Future research should explore the broader cultural and contextual factors that lead to goal endorsement.

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Popilskis, Lindsay Beth, "The link between students' achievement goals and perceptions of the classroom environment" (2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3558542.