The relationship between achievement goals and the academic success of first-generation college students
Perry, Andrew Holmes
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SubjectResearch Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Psychology; First-generation college students; Academic achievement; Achievement motivation; Motivation (Psychology); Motivation in education
Recent research has established that first-generation college students, or those students without a parent with a four-year college degree, tend to underperform academically compared to continuing-generation college students, or those with at least one parent with a four-year college degree. The current study was undertaken to attempt to explain this discrepancy, known as the social class achievement gap, through the use of achievement goal theory. A survey of 351 undergraduates was conducted with students reporting their generational status and their adoption of three achievement goals. Their first-semester GPA was later acquired. It was expected that generational status would predict achievement goal adoption, that achievement goal adoption would predict academic performance, and that goal adoption would mediate the relationship between generational status and academic performance. Results did not support these hypotheses. Potential explanations for the null effects and implications of these findings for the social class achievement gap literature are discussed.
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