Coordinating School Goals: A Process Model of Multiple Goal Pursuit
Baker, Sandra Ann
Wentzel, Kathryn R
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The social and academic goals students pursue in the classroom are important predictors of academic performance, particularly during the middle school years. Several motivational constructs, including self-regulation efficacy, have also been positively related to the goals students pursue in the classroom and academic performance. The role of multiple goal coordination (perceptions of inter-goal interference and facilitation) in predicting academic performance, however, has not been readily addressed. Goals are considered to interfere with one another when the pursuit of one goal conflicts with the pursuit of a second goal. Perceptions of inter-goal facilitation, on the other hand, occur when one goal is seen as beneficial to the pursuit of a second goal. The combined influence of these constructs in predicting academic achievement has not been explored. The purpose of the current study was to test a process model of multiple goal coordination that examined middle school students' self-regulation efficacy, multiple goals and perceptions of inter-goal interference and facilitation in relation to academic performance (GPA). Responses from sixth (n = 293), seventh (n = 226), and eighth (n =146) grade students from two racially diverse low-income school districts in the Southeastern U.S. indicated that self-regulation efficacy was a positive predictor of multiple goal pursuit. Students' multiple goals, in turn, mediated the relation between self-regulation efficacy and academic performance. Academic and social responsibility goals, in particular, were found to be important predictors of academic performance above and beyond levels of self-regulation efficacy. In addition, students' perceptions of inter-goal interference were negative predictors, and perceptions of inter-goal facilitation were positive predictors, of academic performance. Finally, results indicated that perceptions of inter-goal interference moderated the relation between self-regulation efficacy and academic performance (moderated mediation). If students perceived pursuit of one goal to interfere with the pursuit of a second goal, academic performance was lower regardless of levels of self-regulation efficacy. Findings provide evidence for a more complex model of multiple goal pursuit; one that includes both self-processes (self-regulation efficacy) and aspects of goal coordination (perceptions of inter-goal interference and facilitation) as factors that impact the relation between multiple goal pursuit and academic performance. Results also suggest that a measure of inter-goal relations can be a useful tool in examining motivational processes in young adolescent student samples.