In achievement goal theory, goals are cognitive representations of the purposes students adopt for their learning in achievement situations. Thus, students’ achievement goals answer the basic question: Why am I doing this (academic) task? In answering this question, students’ achievement goals guide and direct students’ cognition, behaviour and affect as they engage in academic tasks. Hence, achievement goals are presumed to be linked to achievement outcomes. Apart from academic achievement, important outcomes as a function of achievement goals may include education and career aspirations. During the years of high school, motivational goals develop together with experiences of success and failure in schoolwork. It is therefore important to examine whether there is a developmental trend in students’ goal orientations and whether achievement-related orientations are associated with student aspirations for education and career. In this study, we focus on the academic aspects of goals and examine the differential influences of such goals on outcomes such as education and career aspirations. We also examine the potential trend of students’ development in their goal orientations and aspirations across grades 7, 9, and 11 in a Hong Kong high school. Findings are discussed in the context of the cultural and educational background of Chinese students in Hong Kong.
|Published - Aug 2005