Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

pp 1-3

Date: Latest Version

Achievement Values

  • April TaylorAffiliated withDepartment of Child and Adolescent Development, California State University Email author 
  • , W. David WakefieldAffiliated withDepartment of Child and Adolescent Development, California State University
  • , Daryl TateAffiliated withUniversity of Arkansas


Achievement task values; Subjective task values


The motivation-related construct which refers to desire, preference, or “wanting” certain academic goals and outcomes


Achievement values, broadly defined, focus on one’s purpose for engaging in and succeeding on a task. The research on achievement values is grounded in expectancy-value theory (Atkinson 1957). Expectancy-value theory describes one’s motivation to engage in a task as a function of one’s expectations for success and how much they value the outcome. Expectancies represent one’s beliefs in their abilities (i.e., “Can I do this?”), whereas values represent one’s desire for achievement (i.e., “Do I want it?”). According to expectancy-value theory, individuals are more likely to engage in tasks that they feel they are competent in or can accomplish successfully; however, even if highly competent, one is unlikely to engage in a task if it has little perceived value for them (e.g., I am really good at ma ...

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