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Locating Motivational Goal Theory in real world assessment systems: When Learning and Performance Goals may not be enough

Research output: Other contribution


Publication date2013
DescriptionInvited Seminar
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The work to be reported has twin origins. First, I have a long established interest in the application of aspects of motivation theory to a variety of educational issues across a number of different sectors. Second, my current role in my University as an Associate Dean with responsibility for undergraduate matters requires me to pay careful attention to the outcome of the annual National Student Survey (NSS).
The NSS regularly shows matters concerning assessment to be particularly problematic for all Universities when it comes to gaining good levels of student satisfaction. The seminar will first report the results of a small scale qualitative study designed to illuminate some of the concerns that undergraduate students had, particularly during their first year of study, as they attempted to adapt to the demands of studying university programmes with a strong emphasis on the need for the students to develop as independent learners. Analysis of the data reveals a common account focussed upon a sense of loss: of support systems, structures and relationships. A reflection on these results informed by motivational goal theory suggests that the conventional 2 x 2 model and the more recent 3 x 2 model proposed by Elliot may not be adequate to capture the nature of the students’ concerns.
A motivational goal model, including a goal of “performativity”, is proposed that enables student dissatisfaction with feedback systems at university to be understood in terms of a degree of mismatch between goals held by the student and the assumptions lying behind feedback systems. Such a mismatch can reduce the information contained in the feedback systems and thereby decrease student satisfaction.
These ideas have been further explored through the development of a scale attempting to assess performativity as a motivational goal. The structure of the scale and preliminary observations concerning its relationships with the attitudes of HE students to a variety of aspects of their university learning experiences will also be presented