Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 191–204 | Cite as

Changes in achievement goals and competence perceptions across the college semester

  • Carolyn M. Jagacinski
  • Shamala Kumar
  • Jan L. Boe
  • Holly Lam
  • Steven A. Miller
Original Paper


We investigated the relationship between changes in perceptions of competence and changes in achievement goals across a college semester for students enrolled in an introductory psychology course. Two types of competence perceptions were examined: self-efficacy for learning and normative perceived ability. Changes in normative perceived ability were predicted to relate to changes in performance goals, but not mastery goals. Because mastery goals rely on self-referent standards to evaluate ability, we predicted changes in self-efficacy for learning would relate to changes in mastery goals. We also expected changes in self-efficacy for learning to relate to changes in performance goals because learning can lead to the demonstration of superior competence. The predictions were supported for mastery and performance-approach goals, but not for performance-avoidance goals. Very little change in performance-avoidance goals was observed. Scores on the first course exam also predicted change in performance-approach goals, with this effect partially mediated by competence perceptions.


Changes in achievement goals Perceived ability Self-efficacy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn M. Jagacinski
    • 1
  • Shamala Kumar
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jan L. Boe
    • 1
    • 4
  • Holly Lam
    • 1
    • 4
  • Steven A. Miller
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencePurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Argosy UniversityChicagoUSA
  3. 3.University of PeradeniyaPeradeniyaSri Lanka
  4. 4.Valtera CorporationRolling MeadowsUSA

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