Influences on Achievement: Goals, Perceived Ability, and Cognitive Engagement
Abstract Relationships among college students’ self-reported goal orientation, perceived ability, cognitive engagement while studying, and course achievement were examined. Theoretically important intercorrelations that replicated previous research were found. Both perceived ability and learning goal scores were positively correlated with meaningful cognitive engagement (self-regulation and deep strategy use). Additionally, learning goals and perceived ability were positively correlated with each other. Performance goals were positively correlated with shallow cognitive engagement. A path analysis supported a causal model in which perceived ability and learning goals influenced meaningful cognitive engagement, which in turn influenced midterm achievement. Shallow processing, which was influenced by performance goals, negatively influenced midterm achievement. Additionally, a link from meaningful cognitive engagement to shallow cognitive engagement was found. The data suggested that meaningful cognitive engagement suppressed the negative effects of shallow engagement on achievement. Implications of these findings for theory and possible interventions are discussed.