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Different major, different goals: University students studying economics differ in life aspirations and achievement goal orientations from social science students

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Abstract

In the presented study, we investigated whether university students enrolled in economic sciences report stronger extrinsic life aspirations (striving for wealth) than social science students and whether such group differences align with group differences in achievement motivation. We questioned 327 German university students in economic science (n = 142) and social science programs (n = 185). Students enrolled in economic sciences reported stronger extrinsic and weaker intrinsic life aspirations (striving for personal growth) than students enrolled in social sciences. Extrinsic life aspirations were negatively predictive for students' performance approach goal orientation and intrinsic life aspirations were positively predictive for students' learning goal orientation leading to group differences in achievement goal orientations. Further analyses showed that extrinsic life aspirations also negatively predicted students' learning goal orientations when intrinsic life aspirations were low. The results highlight the importance of life aspirations as a potential foundation of achievement goal striving at university.

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... Diese Annahme deckt sich generell mit Befunden zum Einfluss intrinsischer Motivation auf die Lernzielorientierung während Transitionsphasen (Ciani, Sheldon, Hilpert & Easter, 2011;Malmberg, 2006), ließ sich aber auch im Speziellen für intrinsische Studienwahlmotivation aufzeigen (Janke, 2020;Pohlmann & Möller, 2010). Darüber hinaus konnte vergangene Forschung aufzeigen, dass die Orientierung an materialistischen Werten positiv mit der Leistungszielorientierung von Studierenden assoziiert ist (Janke & Dickhäuser, 2019a, 2019b. Diesem Befund liegt die Annahme zu Grunde, dass erfolgreiches Leistungsstreben in Leistungsgesellschaften eine wichtige Voraussetzung dafür ist, extrinsische Fernziele wie gesellschaftliche Anerkennung und gut vergütete Positionen zu erreichen. ...
... Ziel der zweiten Studie war es, die Faktorenstruktur des nun um eine Subskala Conroy & Elliot, 2004;Dickhäuser et al., 2011;Elliot & Church, 1997 Marcia, 1966;Stephen et al., 1992). Studienwahlmotivation auszeichnen (Janke & Dickhäuser, 2019b (Niemiec, Ryan & Deci, 2009 Anmerkung. Signifikante Abweichungen sind fettgedruckt (siehe Text für Prüfstatistik). ...
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... Investigations into more context-bound motivation, thus, call for a more context-specific conceptualization of growth-centric goal striving. Such a personal striving for growth in one's capabilities and skills within achievement contexts like higher education has often been labeled as learning goal orientation (Dweck & Leggett, 1988;Janke & Dickhäuser, 2019a;Senko et al., 2011). ...
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This meta-analysis addresses whether achievement goal researchers are using different labels for the same constructs or putting the same labels on different constructs. We systematically examined whether conceptual and methodological differences in the measurement of achievement goals moderated achievement goal intercorrelations and relationships with outcomes. We reviewed 243 correlational studies of self-reported achievement goals comprising a total of 91,087 participants. The items used to measure achievement goals were coded as being goal relevant (future-focused, cognitively represented, competence-related end states that the individual approaches or avoids) and were categorized according to the different conceptual definitions found within the literature. The results indicated that achievement goal-outcome and goal-goal correlations differed significantly depending on the goal scale chosen, the individual items used to assess goal strivings, and sociodemographic characteristics of the sample under study. For example, performance-approach goal scales coded as having a majority of normatively referenced items had a positive correlation with performance outcomes (r = .14), whereas scales with a majority of appearance and evaluative items had a negative relationship (r = -.14). Mastery-approach goal scales that contained goal-relevant language were not significantly related to performance outcomes (r = .05), whereas those that did not contain goal-relevant language had a positive relationship with performance outcomes (r = .14). We concluded that achievement goal researchers are using the same label for conceptually different constructs. This discrepancy between conceptual and operational definitions and the absence of goal-relevant language in achievement goal measures may be preventing productive theory testing, research synthesis, and practical application.
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The aim of this study was to examine how materialism, or the focus on acquiring money and material possessions, is associated with students’ academic engagement and achievement via their motivational regulation (amotivation, controlled motivation, autonomous motivation). Study 1 (n = 606 secondary students) was a cross-sectional study which found that materialism was negatively associated with engagement. This association was partially mediated by amotivation. Study 2 (n = 404 secondary students) was a longitudinal study which found that Time 1 materialism was negatively associated with Time 2 engagement and Time 3 academic achievement via amotivation. Results of the two studies provide converging lines of evidence that materialism is negatively associated with key indicators of learning. Students high in materialism have lower levels of engagement and achievement, and these associations are partially mediated by amotivation. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
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The present study investigated achievement goals as mediating constructs linking students' distal motivational dispositions to their intrinsic motivation and academic achievement. We surveyed 288 high school students with a mean age of 17.7 years twice over the course of 1 year. At Time 1, students reported their implicit theory of intelligence, hope of success, fear of failure, and perceived competence. At Time 2, students indicated their achievement goals and intrinsic motivation. Subsequent grade point average served as criterion for academic achievement. Structural equation modeling revealed significant indirect effects of students' motivational dispo-sitions on their intrinsic motivation and achievement via achievement goals. Fear of failure and perceived competence accounted for achievement via performance-approach goals. These effects held stable after controlling for prior achievement. Furthermore, we found evidence for multiplicative effects among motivational disposi-tions in predicting achievement goals: fear of failure moderated the effects of hope of success on mastery goals. Implications for theory and future research are discussed.
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By analyzing the open-ended reasons for studying generated by 3 different groups of Korean middle school students, we aimed to provide partial answers to current issues in achievement goal research that are difficult to resolve solely with the use of survey ratings. We categorized student responses using the achievement goal frameworks of Midgley et al. (2000), Elliot and McGregor (2001), and Grant and Dweck (2003), as well as the social-academic goal framework of Dowson and McInerney (2003). The responses gained from interviews with the students (Study 2) supported our categorization. Grant and Dweck's normative (Study 1) and outcome goals (Study 2) and Midgley et al.'s performance-approach goals (Study 3) appeared most frequently when competence-oriented responses were considered, while Dowson and McInerney's social status goals were the most common for noncompetence responses. Grant and Dweck's framework as a whole accounted for the largest proportion of competence-oriented responses. However, when present-oriented achievement goals were analyzed independently, Midgley et al.'s mastery goals (Grant and Dweck's learning goals) accounted for the overwhelming majority of student responses. Grant and Dweck's ability validation goals were also especially prominent among students subjected to ability grouping (Study 3), demonstrating the effect of the immediate learning environment on the types of achievement goals that students pursue. Elliot and McGregor's mastery-avoidance goals were rare regardless of whether all achievement goals or only those in the immediate classroom context were examined. A majority of students also pursued only a single goal from within Elliot and McGregor's 2 × 2 framework. (PsycINFO Database Record
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28% of students of any one year currently give up their studies in bachelor degree programmes at German higher education institutions. Drop-out is to be understood as the definite termination in the higher education system without obtaining an academic degree. The drop-out rate is thereby calculated with the help of statistical estimation procedures on the basis of cohort comparisons. Based on Tinto's ‘student integration model’, German research on higher education has experienced partially different developments of theoretical approaches to student drop-out. Today, preference goes to those models of drop-out that describe the issue as a complex process in which individual, institutional and social factors affect the socialisation in the education process and studies. According to the findings of empirical studies, the inability to cope with the performance-related demands of the higher education institution, wrong expectations and less identification with the subject, as well as problems in financing studies are considered to be the most important reasons for dropping out. Higher education institutions and higher education policy in Germany react to this situation with broad assistance measures that include the flexibilisation of the curricula, better information for students and the expansion of the support offered during the start of the studies.
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Background The hierarchical model of achievement motivation presumes that achievement goals channel the achievement motives of need for achievement and fear of failure towards motivational outcomes. Yet, less is known whether autonomous and controlling reasons underlying the pursuit of achievement goals can serve as additional pathways between achievement motives and outcomes. AimsWe tested whether mastery approach, performance approach, and performance avoidance goals and their underlying autonomous and controlling reasons would jointly explain the relation between achievement motives (i.e., fear of failure and need for achievement) and learning strategies (Study 1). Additionally, we examined whether the autonomous and controlling reasons underlying learners' dominant achievement goal would account for the link between achievement motives and the educational outcomes of learning strategies and cheating (Study 2). SampleSix hundred and six Greek adolescent students (M-age=15.05, SD=1.43) and 435 university students (MageM=20.51, SD=2.80) participated in studies 1 and 2, respectively. Method In both studies, a correlational design was used and the hypotheses were tested via path modelling. ResultsAutonomous and controlling reasons underlying the pursuit of achievement goals mediated, respectively, the relation of need for achievement and fear of failure to aspects of learning outcomes. Conclusion Autonomous and controlling reasons underlying achievement goals could further explain learners' functioning in achievement settings.
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In this article, we introduce this special issue by establishing a conceptual foundation for the distinction between approach and avoidance motivation. We do so primarily by explicating several reasons why the approach–avoidance distinction should be viewed as fundamental and basic to the study of human behavior. In addition, we compare and contrast the “approach–avoidance” designation with other designations that have been used in the motivational literature to cover the same or similar conceptual ground. Finally, we conclude by briefly overviewing the other contributions to this special issue, specifically highlighting how they make use of the approach–avoidance distinction.
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The present study investigated 3 theoretically plausible explanations for changes in school-related intrinsic motivation. A sample of 348 German 11th-grade students was followed for 1 year. At 2 measurement occasions, students completed self-reports regarding their school-related intrinsic motivation, goal orientations, and competence beliefs. In line with previous studies, cross-lagged analyses provided little evidence for the hypothesis that prior competence beliefs affect subsequent intrinsic motivation after controlling for prior intrinsic motivation. Considering goal orientations as a moderator did not change this result. Instead, learning goals, but not performance goals, directly predicted the change in students' intrinsic motivation, but not vice versa. Findings are discussed with regard to advancing motivation theory and practical implications. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)
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This study examined whether the good or bad outcomes associated with mastery- and performance-approach achievement goals depend on the extent to which these goals are pursued for self-concordant reasons. A sample of 220 undergraduate students completed measures of achievement goals, goal self-concordance, academic satisfaction, and academic anxiety before mid-term exams. A total of 115 participants completed a follow-up measure of their semester GPA. Results of moderated regressions revealed that mastery-approach goals were positively associated with academic satisfaction and performance, but only for students with high levels of mastery goal self-concordance. Performance-approach goals were also associated with higher performance, but only for students with high levels of performance goal self-concordance. Both types of goals were positively associated with anxiety for individuals with low levels of goal self-concordance. This study illustrates the importance of considering the joint influence of goal content and goal motivation in their association with consequential educational outcomes.
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The present study investigated the role that students' implicit theory of intelligence, achievement motives, and perceived competence jointly play as antecedents of their achievement goals and, as a consequence, of their intrinsic motivation and academic achievement. The sample consisted of 524 11th and 12th grade high-school students. Self-report measures were used to assess students' motivational characteristics and subsequent grade point average served as criterion for their academic achievement. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Incremental theory and perceived competence predicted mastery goals. Hope of success, fear of failure, and perceived competence predicted performance-approach goals. Fear of failure, but neither entity theory nor perceived competence predicted performance-avoidance goals. Students' achievement goals predicted their intrinsic motivation and academic achievement. Mediation analyses revealed meaningful indirect effects of students' distal motivational dispositions on intrinsic motivation and academic achievement via achievement goals. Implications for achievement goal theory and future research are discussed.
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Empirical research and organismic theories suggest that lower well-being is associated with having extrinsic goals focused on rewards or praise relatively central to one's personality in comparison to intrinsic goals congruent with inherent growth tendencies. In a sample of adult subjects (Study 1), the relative importance and efficacy of extrinsic aspirations for financial success, an appealing appearance, and social recognition were associated with lower vitality and self-actualization and more physical symptoms. Conversely, the relative importance and efficacy of intrinsic aspirations for self-acceptance, affiliation, community feeling, and physical health were associated with higher well-being and less distress. Study 2 replicated these findings in a college sample and extended them to measures of narcissism and daily affect. Three reasons are discussed as to why extrinsic aspirations relate negatively to well-being, and future research directions are suggested.
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Achievement goal researchers and theorists have relied primarily on the distinction between performance goals and mastery goals in differentiating competence-based strivings. In this article, an argument is made for incorporating the distinction between approach and avoidance motivation into the performance-mastery dichotomy. Historical, theoretical, and empirical reasons for attending to the approach-avoidance distinction are offered, and a revised, trichotomous framework of achievement goals comprising mastery, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance goals is described and reviewed. This trichotomous framework is discussed in the broader context of a hierarchical model of achievement motivation that attends to the motivational foundation underlying achievement goals per se. Avenues for further theoretical development are also overviewed, including consideration of a mastery-avoidance goal construct.
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A hierarchical model of approach and avoidance achievement motivation was proposed and tested in a college classroom with 178 undergraduates. Mastery, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance goals were assessed and their antecedents and consequences examined. Results indicated that mastery goals were grounded in achievement motivation and high competence expectancies; performance-avoidance goals, in fear of failure and low competence expectancies; and performance-approach goals, in achievement motivation, fear of failure, and high competence expectancies. Mastery goals facilitated intrinsic motivation, performance-approach goals enhanced graded performance, and performance-avoidance goals proved inimical to both intrinsic motivation and graded performance. The proposed model represents an integration of classic and contemporary approaches to the study of achievement motivation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Two studies examined achievement goals as predictors of self-reported cognitive/metacognitive and motivational study strategies and tested these study strategies as mediators of the relationship between achievement goals and exam performance in the normatively graded college classroom. The results support hypotheses generated from the trichotomous achievement goal framework. Mastery goals are positive predictors of deep processing, persistence, and effort; performance-approach goals are positive predictors of surface processing, persistence, effort, and exam performance; and performance-avoidance goals are positive predictors of surface processing and disorganization and negative predictors of deep processing and exam performance. Persistence and effort mediate the relationship between performance-approach goals and exam performance, whereas disorganization mediates the relationship between performance-avoidance goals and exam performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Describes how motivational processes influence a child's acquisition, transfer, and use of knowledge and skills. Recent research within the social-cognitive framework illustrates adaptive and maladaptive motivational patterns, and a research-based model of motivational processes is presented that shows how the particular performance or learning goals children pursue on cognitive tasks shape their reactions to success and failure and influence the quality of their cognitive performance. Implications for practice and the design of interventions to change maladaptive motivational processes are outlined. It is suggested that motivational patterns may contribute to gender differences in mathematics achievement and that empirically based interventions may prevent current achievement discrepancies and provide a basis for more effective socialization. (79 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Mastery goals have been linked to adaptive outcomes in normative goal theory and research; performance goals, to less adaptive outcomes. In contrast, approach performance goals may be adaptive for some outcomes under a revised goal theory perspective. The current study addresses the role of multiple goals, both mastery and approach performance goals, and links them to multiple outcomes of motivation, affect, strategy use, and performance. Data were collected over 3 waves from 8th and 9th graders ( N = 150) in their math classrooms using both self-report questionnaires and actual math grades. There was a general decline in adaptive outcomes over time, but these trends were moderated by the different patterns of multiple goals. In line with normative goal theory, mastery goals were adaptive; but also in line with the revised goal theory perspective, approach performance goals, when coupled with mastery goals, were just as adaptive. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This article examines the adequacy of the “rules of thumb” conventional cutoff criteria and several new alternatives for various fit indexes used to evaluate model fit in practice. Using a 2‐index presentation strategy, which includes using the maximum likelihood (ML)‐based standardized root mean squared residual (SRMR) and supplementing it with either Tucker‐Lewis Index (TLI), Bollen's (1989) Fit Index (BL89), Relative Noncentrality Index (RNI), Comparative Fit Index (CFI), Gamma Hat, McDonald's Centrality Index (Mc), or root mean squared error of approximation (RMSEA), various combinations of cutoff values from selected ranges of cutoff criteria for the ML‐based SRMR and a given supplemental fit index were used to calculate rejection rates for various types of true‐population and misspecified models; that is, models with misspecified factor covariance(s) and models with misspecified factor loading(s). The results suggest that, for the ML method, a cutoff value close to .95 for TLI, BL89, CFI, RNI, and Gamma Hat; a cutoff value close to .90 for Mc; a cutoff value close to .08 for SRMR; and a cutoff value close to .06 for RMSEA are needed before we can conclude that there is a relatively good fit between the hypothesized model and the observed data. Furthermore, the 2‐index presentation strategy is required to reject reasonable proportions of various types of true‐population and misspecified models. Finally, using the proposed cutoff criteria, the ML‐based TLI, Mc, and RMSEA tend to overreject true‐population models at small sample size and thus are less preferable when sample size is small.
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Though there is a deep literature on factors that predict college attendance and on the effects of college attendance on students’ development, there has been little research on what education actually means to students themselves. This study was conducted to examine whether materialism, intrinsic aspirations, and the search for meaning in life predicted a set of ten meanings that students are known to associate with their education. Multiple regression analyses indicated that students who were high on materialism viewed their education as an opportunity to gain independence, a chance to establish relationships, and a source of stress. Individuals high on intrinsic aspirations were more likely to see education as a time for career preparation, gaining independence, exploring future life directions, learning, engaging in personal growth, establishing social relationships, and learning skills to make a difference in the world, but they were less likely to view education as an escape from future responsibilities. As expected, the findings also revealed that individuals who sought meaning in life viewed education as a way to gain independence, explore life directions, engage in personal growth, establish relationships, learn skills that will help change the world, and escape future responsibilities. KeywordsMeaning–Materialism–Intrinsic aspirations–Education–Undergraduate students
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Aspirations for intrinsic (e.g.,self-acceptance, affiliation, community feeling)versus extrinsic (e.g., financial success, appearance,social recognition) goals were examined in German andU.S. college students. The structure of studentsgoal-systems in terms of goal content was remarkablysimilar in the two cultures, as evidenced byexamination of the ordering of goals. Also, as inpast work in the U.S., German college students whowere especially focused on intrinsic goals had highwell-being, whereas the reverse was true for a focuson extrinsic goals. Some differences between thecultures in terms of specific goals are alsodiscussed.
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This meta-analysis synthesized 93 independent samples (N = 30,003) in 77 studies that reported in 78 articles examining correlations between achievement goals and achievement emotions. Achievement goals were meaningfully associated with different achievement emotions. The correlations of mastery and mastery approach goals with positive achievement emotions and those between performance avoidance goals and negative achievement emotions were large based on Cohen’s guidelines. The correlations of performance approach goals with positive and negative achievement emotions were comparable. The variation in the correlations between achievement goals and achievement emotions can be explained by achievement emotion indicators. The correlations of mastery goals with enjoyment and interest were larger than those with anxiety. KeywordsAchievement goal–Goal orientation–Achievement emotion–Meta-analysis
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Self-determination theory (SDT) maintains that an understanding of human motivation requires a consideration of innate psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. We discuss the SDT concept of needs as it relates to previous need theories, emphasizing that needs specify the necessary conditions for psychological growth, integrity, and well-being. This concept of needs leads to the hypotheses that different regulatory processes underlying goal pursuits are differentially associated with effective functioning and well-being and also that different goal contents have different relations to the quality of behavior and mental health, specifically because different regulatory processes and different goal contents are associated with differing degrees of need satisfaction. Social contexts and individual differences that support satisfaction of the basic needs facilitate natural growth processes including intrinsically motivated behavior and integration of extrinsic motivations, whereas those that forestall autonomy, competence, or relatedness are associated with poorer motivation, performance, and well-being. We also discuss the relation of the psychological needs to cultural values, evolutionary processes, and other contemporary motivation theories.
Article
Students' perceptions of classroom goals influence their adoption of personal goals. To assess different forms of classroom goals, recent studies have favoured an overall measure of performance classroom goals, compared to a two-dimensional assessment of performance-approach and performance-avoidance classroom goals (PAVCG). This paper considered the relationship between students' perceptions of classroom goals and their endorsement of personal achievement goals. We proposed that three (instead of only two) classroom goals need to be distinguished. We aimed to provide evidence for this hypothesis by confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and also by divergent associations between the respective classroom goal and students' personal goal endorsement. A total of 871 (474 female) 10th grade students from several German high schools participated in this study. Students responded to items assessing their perception of mastery, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance goals in the classroom. Additionally, the students reported how much they personally pursue mastery, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance goals. All items referred to German as a specific school subject. RESULTS.A CFA yielded empirical support for the proposed distinction of three (instead of only two) different kinds of classroom goals. Moreover, in hierarchical linear modelling (HLM) analyses all three classroom goals showed unique associations with students' personal goal adoption. The findings emphasized the need to distinguish performance-approach and PAVCG. Furthermore, our results suggest that multiple classroom goals have interactive effects on students' personal achievement strivings.
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Life goals, or aspirations, organize and direct behavior over extended periods of time. The present study, guided by self-determination theory, examined the consequences of pursuing and attaining aspirations over a one-year period in a post-college sample. Results indicated that placing importance on either intrinsic or extrinsic aspirations related positively to attainment of those goals. Yet, whereas attainment of intrinsic aspirations related positively to psychological health, attainment of extrinsic aspirations did not; indeed, attainment of extrinsic aspirations related positively to indicators of ill-being. Also as predicted, the association between change in attainment of intrinsic aspirations and change in psychological health was mediated by change in the satisfaction of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Discussion focuses on the idea that not all goal attainment is beneficial; rather, attainment of aspirations with different contents relates differentially to psychological health.
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Die Langzeitstudie "Studiensituation und studentische Orientierungen" an Universitäten und Fachhochschulen wird seit 1982 durchgeführt. Anhand einer Zeitreihe von bisher neun Messzeitpunkten lassen sich vielfältige Einsichten in ein breites Spektrum der Studienverhältnisse, der studentischen Erfahrungen und Haltungen gewinnen. Der umfangreiche Fragebogen ist über sämtliche Erhebungen hinweg im Kern stabil geblieben, sodass zeitliche Vergleiche über die letzten beiden Jahrzehnten möglich sind. Die große Anzahl von befragten Studierenden lässt Analysen zwischen Hochschularten, nach Geschlecht, Studienphasen und Fächern zu. Die Themen umfassen den Hochschulzugang, Ausbildungswahl, Studienerwartungen, Lehrsituation, Studienqualität, Studierverhalten, Studienstrategien, Lebenssituation, Erwerbstätigkeit, Kontakte und Kommunikation, Beratung und Betreuung, Studienschwierigkeiten, Probleme und Belastungen, Einsatz neuer Medien, Wünsche und Forderungen zur Hochschulentwicklung sowie gesellschaftliche und politische Vorstellungen. Im Vordergrund der Darstellung steht die aktuelle Situation der Studierenden im WS 2003/04. The long-term student survey with a sample of students at universities and universities of applied sciences ('Fachhochschulen') is conducted since 1982. The nine measurement points of this survey compare 60.000 responses. The data enables comparisions between different types of universities, male and female students, the timing of the study, and the fields of study. The survey includes a lot of topics such as motivation for studying, strategies, problems and difficulties, political and social orientation, and the attidute towards new media. The contribution frames the situation of the current term 2004.
Article
This study tested a framework in which goals are proposed to be central determinants of achievement patterns. Learning goals, in which individuals seek to increase their competence, were predicted to promote challenge-seeking and a mastery-oriented response to failure regardless of perceived ability. Performance goals, in which individuals seek to gain favorable judgments of their competence or avoid negative judgments, were predicted to produce challenge-avoidance and learned helplessness when perceived ability was low and to promote certain forms of risk-avoidance even when perceived ability was high. Manipulations of relative goal value (learning vs. performance) and perceived ability (high vs. low) resulted in the predicted differences on measures of task choice, performance during difficulty, and spontaneous verbalizations during difficulty. Particularly striking was the way in which the performance goal-low perceived ability condition produced the same pattern of strategy deterioration, failure attribution, and negative affect found in naturally occurring learned helplessness. Implications for theories of motivation and achievement are discussed.