Students' perceptions of a mastery climate operating within a university course: Motivational implications

Year: 1993

Author: Archer, Jennifer

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Students enrolled in a first year university course in 1992 responded twice to a questionnaire: at the end of the first semester (n=377), and at the end of the second semester (n=397). The questionnaire was designed in part to measure students' perception of the motivational "climate" of the course, that is, did the lecturers involved in the course encourage students to adopt a mastery achievement goal and/or a performance achievement goal? Between the first and second administration of the questionnaire, a change was introduced to the evaluative structure of the course in an attempt to increase students' perceptions of a mastery climate. The results demonstrated that students' perceptions of the course could be delineated in terms of a mastery goal (but less so in terms of a performance goal), and that perception of a mastery climate was related to a more enthusiatic approach to learning and greater reported use of metacognitive strategies. The change to the structure of the course did not result in an increase in students' perception of a mastery climate.