The mediation effect of achievement goals between low self-control and math performance
Sunny S.J. Lin
|關鍵字:||低自我控制;成就目標;數學表現;中介模型;測量恆等性;low self-control;achievement goals;math performance;mediator model;measurement invariance|
Background Many studies investigated motivational dispositions and class perceptions of adopting the achievement goals. However, there is seldom studies to investigate whether self-features is a critical antecedent which may affect the adoption of various achievement goals and then in turn affect academic performance. According to my own practical experience and previous research, self-control plays an important role in the learning situation. People with higher self-control lead to better grades and good adjustment. But, I consider that the direct relation between self-control and academic performance is likely to be rather remote. In previous research, low self-control could predict achievement goals, and achievement goals could predict academic performance. Hence, I infer that self-control may affect achievement goals, and then in turn academic performance through achievement goals. Besides, researchers have long found that gender is a significant predictor of self-control. Hence, the author also tests invariance of the multiple mediator models across gender groups. Objective There are three purposes of this study. First, evaluate reliability and validity of low self-control scale and achievement goal questionnaire. Second, examine measurement invariance across genders in low self-control scale and achievement goal questionnaire. Third, investigate whether achievement goal is a mediating variable for the effect of low self-control on academic performance and examine whether the mediator model have model invariance across genders. Sample The sample includes 1170 senior school students from 25 countries in Taiwan, including north, south, midland, eastern, and offshore island. The schools and classes were selected by random in each region. The participants were composed of 668 (57%) boys and 502 (43%) girls. Method The data of this study was from a panel database of Taiwan Student Physical and Mental Development Study. First, the researcher decided the instruments to measure variables. The Achievement Goal Questionnaire (Elliot and McGregor, 2001) and Self Control Scale (Grasmick et al., 1993 ) are used in this study. Both of them were revised from foreign scales, and they were translated into Chinese by researcher. Next, the scales were pretested to evaluate the appropriateness of scales and procedures in October, 2006 to February, 2007. According to suggestion and statistical result, researcher modified the unsuitable items and procedures. Finally, researcher took place a seminar for measuring teacher in April, 2007. The study was conducted in May, 2007 to June, 2007. The students completed all of scales and the teacher provided mathematics grades at the semester end. Results By conducting exploratory, confirmatory analysis, and measurement invariance, the results of measurement evaluation revealed that the low self-control scale is formed by six dimensions as claimed by Grasmick et al. (1993); the achievement goal questionnaire, four dimensions (Elliot & McGregor, 2001).These scales show good reliable, validity (including discriminant and convergent validity), but these two scales do not show measurement invariance across gender groups. The major research findings are listed in below. First, achievement goals partially mediate the relations between low self-control and math performance. Specifically, low self-control is not only found to have significant negative direct effect on math score, but also found to have indirect effects on math score through various achievement goals. Students who are low self-control are more likely to hold avoidance-based goals (mastery-avoidance goals and performance-avoidance goals) and then in turn have more chances to obtain poor math score. Low self-control has null effect on mastery-approach goals and positively predicts performance-approach goals; however, both the approach-based goals could significant predict math scores in a positive manner. Second, achievement goals mediate the relations between low self-control and math score differently across genders. The most obvious difference is that the performance-avoidance goals could effectively mediate the relation between low self-control and math score in boy sample, but they couldn’t mediate the relation in girl sample. Conclusion The result that low self-control directly leads to poor performance in learning math; however, low self-control could lead to higher chances better math score through setting approach-based goals. Teachers could encourage students setting approach-based goals and escaping from avoidance-based goals during the learning process. In addition, the low self-control scale, achievement goal questionnaire, and the mediation models are not invariant across gender groups. Researchers have to use these scales carefully, and teachers have to use different teaching strategies for boys and girls. The article provides more implications and some limitation according to the research.