The Mediating Role of Achievement Goals in the Relationship Between Perceived Instrumentality and Cognitive Processing

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There is little doubt that the perceived value or relevance of schooling to students' futures is a key to their motivation toward school. Previous research has shown a positive correlation between students' perceptions of the future utility value or instrumentality of their school work and both their achievement goals and reports of cognitive strategy use. These relationships are predicted by various theoretical formulations (e.g., Eccles & Wigfield, 1995; Simons et al, 2000 and 2004; Miller & Brickman, 2004); however, it is unclear whether perceived instrumentality/future utility value has a direct effect on cognitive strategy use or whether its effects are mediated by the relationship with achievement goals (e.g., mastery and performance-approach goals). This study attempts to answer this question. To test for mediation we used the statistical approach outlined by Baron and Kenny (1986). The results of the study indicated that the effects of perceived instrumentality/future utility value on cognitive strategy use are partially mediated by students' achievement goals. Additionally, some achievement goals play a greater mediating role with deep processing strategies while others play a greater role for shallow processing strategies.


Keywords: Future Utility Value, Perceived Instrumentality, Achievement Goals, Cognitive Strategies, Mediated Effects
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. Raymond Miller

Professor, Instructional Psychology & Technology
Department of Educational Psychology, University of Oklahoma

Norman, Oklahoma, USA

I have been teaching about and conducting research on student motivation and cognitive processing for about 30 years. The bulk of my work has examined the role of students' future-oriented goals, achievement goals and self-efficacy on the types of cognitive processing they use to engage in their school work. I have about 30 publications in peer reviewed journals and edited books, and 60 national/international conference presentations.

Dr. Barbara Greene

Professor, Instructional Psychology & Technology
Department of Educational Psychology, University of Oklahoma

Norman, Oklahoma, USA

I have been teaching courses at the University of Oklahoma on cognition and instruction and research methods for 19 years. During that time my research interests have jelled around the topics related to motivation and cognitive engagement. Measurement issues are always important to this research agenda and often become the topic of research. Recently I have focused on motivation and cognitive engagement as it relates to science learning and teaching.

Dr. Connie Dillon

Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma, USA


Ref: L09P1117