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Performativity

Project: Non-funded ProjectResearch

1/05/12 → …

An exploration of an extension to motivational goal theory is presently underway. The work seeks to develop a more ecologically valid set of goals to augment the classic 2x2 model developed by Elliot and others.
The main new goal proposed is identified as “performativity”. The goal has its origins in attempts to understand the development of an approach to learning that is located in the current delivery of the GCSE and A level syllabi in England. Here there is a very strong emphasis upon the importance of obtaining given grades by the demonstration of a set of learning outcomes associated with each specified grades.
Students with strong performativity goals would be considered to be highly motivated and, other things equal, are likely to be capable of high levels of attainment. However, the goal they seek, the ways in which this helps to determine a definition of success, leaves them dependent upon the provision of a clear structure in which to work.
Such students are likely therefore to have difficulty in adapting to the expectations often established by universities for them to engage in independent learning.
An article has been published setting out some of the core concerns and these have also been presented at seminars and conferences. The prime focus of the present work is the development of a scale, in the goal theory tradition, to assess performativity and its relations with attitudes towards learning in a Higher Education context. Early indications have been promising.