The role of social-academic goals in Chinese students' self-regulated learning

Jing WANG, Ronnel Bornasal KING, Nirmala RAO

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28 Citations (Scopus)


The role of mastery and performance goals in self-regulated learning (SRL) has received much attention. However, in collectivist and Confucian-heritage contexts, social-academic goals may also play an important, yet unexamined role in SRL. This study examined the association between social-academic goals and SRL. We tested a hierarchical model which posited higher-order social-academic goals (social reasons for doing well academically: parent-oriented goals and social status goals) as predictors of lower-order academic achievement goals (specific concrete aims: mastery goals and performance goals), which in turn predicted SRL strategy use. Participants were 11th-grade students from a developed metropolitan area (n = 449) and an underdeveloped rural area (n = 553) in China. Structural equation modeling showed that social status goals were significantly associated with mastery goals and that parent-oriented goals were positively associated with performance-avoidance goals across both groups. Students' social status goals had an indirect effect on SRL strategy use through academic achievement goals, while parent-oriented goals had a direct effect on SRL strategy use. Reasons for the findings and implications for motivating students in collectivist contexts are discussed. Copyright © 2018 Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisboa, Portugal and Springer Nature B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-600
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
Issue number3
Early online dateSept 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


Wang, J., King, R. B., & Rao, N. (2019). The role of social-academic goals in Chinese students' self-regulated learning. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 34(3), 579–600. doi: 10.1007/s10212-018-0404-y


  • Social-academic goals
  • Parent-oriented goals
  • Social status goals
  • Academic achievement goals
  • Self-regulated learning


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