“To learn, or to be the best?”: Achievement goal profiles in pre-adolescents

Francisco Peixoto, Joana Pipa, Lourdes Mata, Vera Monteiro, Cristina Sanches


This study aimed to examine the achievement goal orientation profiles of  5th and 7th grade students and the profile differences in academic achievement and anxiety. Participants were 1652 Portuguese students who responded to the Achievement Goals Scale and the Achievement Emotions Questionnaire. Based on a person-centered approach, a cluster analysis identified six groups of students with distinct motivational profiles: task oriented, ego oriented, success oriented, disengaged, self-defeating oriented and diffuse. Diffuse oriented students was the group with higher number of participants. Concerning the gender composition of clusters, differences arise in the groups of disengaged and self-defeating orientations, with boys predominating in the former and girls in the second group. Regarding age, the success oriented students group was overrepresented by younger students and older students were more likely to adopt disengaged orientations. Clusters also presented different composition when retention was taken into account, with students who have been retained being more represented in the disengaged and diffuse groups. Moreover results showed that goal orientation profiles had effects on academic achievement and anxiety. Success oriented students had the higher grades and profiles including predominantly ego orientations are more related to class and test anxiety.


Achievement goals, Academic achievement, Anxiety, Person-centered approach, Preadolescents

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14417/ap.1182


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