Learning With Self: Structural Models of Self-Construals, Social Achievement Goals, Achievement Goals and Study Strategies of University Students in Hong Kong

Year: 2011

Author: Chan, Hoi-wing, Leung, Man-tak

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Achievement motivation is suggested to be a good predictor of study behaviours and academic achievement that individuals' goals are deciding their tendencies of achievement via cognitions (Cogvinton, 2000), their goals controlling observable achievement behaviours and thus affecting their academic achievement. In addition, Boekaerts (1998) suggested that students' study behaviours are theoretically influenced by self-construals that interdependent self-construal students prefer cooperative study than independent self-construal students do. Kobayashi (2005) also found that interdependent self-construal scores was positively correlated with cooperative study scores (r = .24, p < .05), whereas independent self-construal score was positively correlated with individual study score (r = .30, p < .05). However, these studies could not explain adequately how students' self-construals affect their achievement motivations (achievement goals and social achievement goals), their learning behaviours. The present study attempted to establish structural models containing the constructs of self-construals (independent vs. interdependent), social achievement goals (mastery, performance-approach, performance-avoidance), social achievement goals (social development, social demonstration-approach, social demonstration-avoidance), study strategies (deep vs. surface). It was hypothesized that there were significant relationships among self-construals, social and achievement goals and study strategies at the p = .05 level. Around 280 Hong Kong university students were invited to participate in the present study. Findings indicated that independent self-construal had positive and significant effect on mastery goal and performance-avoidance goal, but negative and significant effect on performance-approach goal, whereas interdependent self-construal had significant positive effect on mastery goal and performance-approach goal. On the other hand, independent self-construal had positive and significant effects on social development goal and social demonstration-approach goal, but no effect on social demonstration-avoidance goal. Interdependent self-construal had positive and significant effects on social development goal and social demonstration-avoidance goal, but no effect on social demonstration-approach goal. Among the three social goals, both social demonstration-approach goal and social demonstration-avoidance goal had positive and significant effects on surface study approach. More importantly, structural models (path analyses utilizing LISREL) comprising the complex interrelationships among self-construals, achievement and social goals and study strategies could be established and supported by empirical data. These findings could contribute to help broaden the knowledge in understanding the mysterious mechanism on how students' self-construals could influence the achievement goals and also their learning processes and behaviours. Implications of major findings were discussed at the end in this paper.