Changes in student goal orientation across the semester in undergraduate computer science courses

Melissa Patterson Hazley, Duane F. Shell, Leen Kiat Soh, L. Dee Miller, Vlad Chiriacescu, Elizabeth Ingraham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


Students' goal orientations impact their self-regulation, engagement, and achievement in post-secondary STEM courses. But, how students' goal orientations change across a semester and the impacts of these changes have not been extensively studied. Study purposes were to investigate goal orientation change across the semester, associations of goal change with achievement and self-regulation, and associations of classroom climate with goal change. Participants were 175 students from college introductory computer science courses. MANOVA identified significant during semester decreases for all goal orientations except task-avoid (Wilks' λ =.724, F (6, 169.00) = 10.71, p <.001, partial Eta<sup>2</sup> =.276). No differences in goal orientation change were found for gender, year in college, or course. Goal orientation change significantly predicted students' course grades, retention of CS content, and strategic self-regulation. Classroom climate significantly predicted goal orientation change. Results indicate that students began the semester with positive goal orientations, but shifted in negative directions over the semester. In college STEM classes, the primary motivational issue may not be motivating students' to initially set learning-and task-approach goals, but rather motivating them to maintain their initial positive goals. Perceptions of course affect and teacher directedness predicted students' goal shifts, suggesting potential avenues for intervention by educators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
StatePublished - Feb 17 2015
Event44th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2014 - Madrid, Spain
Duration: Oct 22 2014Oct 25 2014


Other44th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2014


  • Affect
  • Goal change
  • Goal orientation
  • Goal revision
  • Motivation
  • Self-regulation
  • STEM learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software
  • Education


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