Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

The Influence of Achievement Goal Orientation and Self-Efficacy on Student Performance in an Introductory Economics Course
Ahmad A. Kader, PhD

Research on achievement goal orientation and self-efficacy and their effect on student motivation and achievement has been largely absent in economic education literature. The purpose of this paper is to bridge this gap by incorporating these two psychological constructs as determinants of student grades in an economics course. The sample is drawn from two classes taught in Global Economics, which is an introductory economics course taught during the Spring Semester of 2017 and designed for non-business majors with a global orientation. Of the students enrolled in both classes, 187 out of 210 participated in a survey at the end of the semester describing their demographic and academic profile, which includes GPA, gender, age, course level, race, student classification, and employment. Student attendance was taken six times during the semester and was incorporated as one of the student characteristics. Students also were asked to fill out two questionnaires, which included a 12-item questionnaire with 3 each describing mastery approach, mastery avoidance, performance approach, and performance avoidance (Elliot and Murayama, 2008) and a Self-Efficacy questionnaire consisting of eight items (Nietfeld et al., 2006). Regression results show that of the student characteristics equation, the GPA, age, and attendance are the only significant variables in their influence on students’ grades. Of the educational psychology variables, mastery orientation and self-efficacy are shown to be significant and have a positive effect on student performance. Also, the inclusion of the educational psychology variables to the student characteristics equation added significantly and positively to the regression results by increasing the adjusted R square value. The t test also shows that students who are high on both mastery approach and self-efficacy scales significantly outperform students who are low on both mastery approach and self-efficacy scales. The implication of these results for educators is discussed in the paper.

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