Development of a Physics Goal Orientation Survey

Christine Lindstrøm, Manjula Sharma


A key question in learning and teaching is: What motivates students to learn? In the second half of the 20th century achievement goal theory emerged as a key feature of the motivation literature. This theory focuses on what motivates students toward actions that will result in learning; students have particular goals and beliefs that orient them to select particular strategies and ways of learning and planning their success.

Although motivation and goal orientations influence student learning outcomes, there appear to be no studies on goal orientations in university physics. This study focused on developing a goal orientation survey specific to university physics studies. A pilot study was undertaken in 2006 (Lindstrøm & Sharma, 2008). This paper describes the continuation and conclusion of the study in 2007 and 2008 spanning five administrations, each with sample sizes between 162 and 360 students.

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