Achievement Goals of Filipino College Students
Sandra Co Shu Ming
Far Eastern University
Online ISSN: 2799-1296
Achievement goals is based on having goals as motives. It is imperative that educators can comprehend the motivation of their students to better help them perform well academically. This study thus explored the dimensions associated with the achievement goals of Filipino college students. 288 respondents participated in the study. Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) was used to extract the factors associated with achievement goals. Four (4) factors were extracted, namely: future orientation goals; performance goals; social orientation goals and mastery goals. The first factor is new to achievement goals. An added component to social orientation goals was studying well to give thanks to a higher being. Another new dimension to mastery goal was not just studying for the sake of learning but adding a goal that is oriented towards being of service to others.
Achievement goals, college students, EFA, Filipinos
Sandra Co Shu Ming, Far Eastern University, Manila, Philippines.
Co Shu Ming, S. (2021). Achievement Goals of Filipino College Students. Asian Journal on Perspectives in Education, 1(2), 59-76.
Why do students want to do well academically? What would motivate our Filipino college students to achieve? Achievement goals is based on the “goals-as-motives” theory. Covington (2000) stated that one’s actions are given meaning, direction, and purpose by the goals that one seeks out; and these goals could change across time and thus impact the quality and intensity of behavior. Achievement goal theory impacts education as it gives teachers an understanding of the motivation behind why students do well academically, and thus helps teachers seek ways to reinforce these motives for studying. Moreover, a teacher could also influence the motivation of a student by changing the goals behind the motivations. To sum it up, achievement goal theory focuses on how purpose can motivate the attitudes and behavior of people. Achievement goals are delineated into mastery and performance goals. Hopkins (1998) discussed a model of social achievement goal orientation. Students pursue specific social outcomes as part of their goal orientations. Despite the research done on achievement goals, there still exists a dearth of such studies on the achievement goals of Filipino college students. Therefore, this study used Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) to discover the dimensions associated with the achievement goals of Filipino college students.
Statement of the Problem
The primary purpose of this paper was to explore and identify the dimensions associated with the achievement goals of Filipino college students. Based on the examination of the existing research, there is a lack of literature particularly on the achievement goals of the Filipino college students. Specifically, this paper intended to extract the factors associated with achievement goals and add to the existing literature on achievement goal theory.
Traditionally, achievement goal theory was developed to understand the responses of students to achievement situations. Two primary goals were emphasized – mastery goals and performance goals. Mastery goals focus on acquiring competence while performance goals focused on outperforming others. An individual who adopts a mastery goal towards achieve mentor learning would focus on learning for the sake of learning. This student focuses on the process of learning and sets intrapersonal competency standards for one’s own learning and achievement. On the other hand, an individual who adopts a performance goal focuses on doing better than one’s peers. The focus is on the outcome of learning, wherein one defines achievement by comparing one’s performance with others. Theorists would later separate both mastery and performance goals into either approach or
avoidance forms (Elliot, 1999; Pintrich, 2000a). Mastery-approach goals meant achieving something because you want to learn more or improve your skills. Mastery-avoidance goals meant achieving to avoid failure or decline of skills. Performance-approach goals meant achieving to outperform one’s peers or to appear talented. Performance-avoidance goals meant achieving to avoid doing worse than one’s peers or appearing less skillful.
The addition of the approachavoidance dimension to the achievement goal theory helped clarify mastery and performance goals. Hopkins (1998) proposed an added dimension of social achievement goal orientation. This refers to applying achievement goal theory to the social domain. Students would also strive for social achievement just as they do academic achievement. Learners would want to elevate their own sense of social competence and pursue acknowledgement by others of social adroitness. Expanding achievement goal theory to include a combination of social goal orientations has been
The instrument used to measure achievement goals constructed for the purpose of this paper was a self-made questionnaire. It was based on the initial survey questionnaire administered to twenty (20) students. The research instrument underwent reliability statistics with a Cronbach’s Alpha score of 0.953. Cronbach’s Alpha was based on standardized 0.957 with number of items at 59. The students were instructed to first answer the consent form. The questionnaire had three (3) parts. The first part included the demographic data of the respondent. The following information was gathered from the respondent: age; gender; school; degree program; year level; mother’s occupation; father’s occupation; mother’s highest educational attainment; father’s highest educational attainment and the number of siblings (including the respondent). The second part included fifty-nine (59) items answering the statement “I want to do well academically in order to…” Students answered the items by responding to a 5-point Likert scale (1= never true of me to 5 = always true of me). Two researchers reviewed the items for the second part of the questionnaire
Data Gathering Procedures
A preliminary interview questionnaire was distributed to twenty (20) students who are doing well academically. They have received honors for their academic work and are currently dean’s listers in their respective schools. They were asked to complete one statement and provide at least five (5) answers. The statement is as follows: “I want to do well academically in order to.” From these answers, fifty-nine (59) items were generated for a survey questionnaire to determine which items would be correlated with each other. A consent form was attached to the instrument which needs to be answered and signed first by the respondents before proceeding to the actual instrument. Hard copies of the questionnaire, as well as Google Forms, were distributed. The hard copies were answered on the spot and collected right after at the respective colleges and/or universities. Google forms were emailed to the respondents or sent through Viber chats and Facebook messenger applications
Data first underwent data screening to look for errors and to correct them prior to data analysis. Descriptive statistics and frequency were used to determine normality of distribution of the demographic information of the respondents. Data gathered was analyzed using exploratory factor analysis principal component analysis. Principal component analysis was done to reduce a large set of variables to a smaller set that would still contain most of the information from the large set. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was used to explore the dimensions of achievement goals and to determine how the factors are clustered towards the dimension. EFA was used because the construct of achievement goals is still being explored with the data. What needs to be determined is how many factors in achievement goals would best represent the data. EFA is done to explore first the dimensions given a different population and given the changes to the theory that has occurred throughout the literature. The theory is not static, it has evolved from having 2 dimensions earlier to having 3 dimensions now. Thus, EFA is used to further explore the theory and to avoid assuming that only 3 dimensions exist now.
The number of factors was determined by inspecting eigenvalues and the scree plot. The reliability of using a chosen number of factors makes use of the total variance explained. Factor loadings were analyzed to determine the dimensions of achievement goals of Filipino college students. This paper focuses on the motives behind why Filipino college students want to do well academically. Based on the literature, there are three different achievement goals: mastery goals, performance goals and socially oriented goals.
A total of 288 respondents took part in this study. All 288 respondents are Filipino citizens, at least 18 years old and are currently enrolled in any college or university in the Philippines. Most of them (95.1%) were between 18 to 23 years old. Of the 288 respondents, 96 (33.3%) were male, 191 (66.3%) were female and 1 (0.3%) was bisexual. Of the 288 respondents, 171 (59.4%) were from private colleges and/or universities while 117 (40.6%) were from public or state colleges and/or universities.
Data screening was initially done to look for errors and to correct them prior to data analysis. Descriptive statistics was done to determine normality of distribution. Data gathered is within the recommended value of skewness (Field, 2009).
The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy and Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity were done to determine sampling adequacy. Results showed a KMO score of 0.905; this means that sampling was adequately met, and factor analysis can be done. Bartlett’s Test showed a significant value of 0.000. Again, this confirms that sampling was adequately met
Twelve (12) factors were extracted using eigenvalue > 1. Using scree plot, only four (4) factors were extracted. The same results with eigenvalue and scree plot were noted with no rotation and with direct oblimin rotation. The cumulative variance is 65% based on eigenvalue for the twelve (12) factors. Based on the four (4) factors, cumulative variance is 46%. In this case, since 46% of the variability has been explained and is already deemed adequate, 4 factors were extracted using scree plot.
Factor loading was done initially with no rotation. All items loaded under Factor 1. Direct oblimin with Kaiser Normalization was then used as the rotation method to determine a better clustering of the items. Factor loading cut-off was set at > 0.40. Pattern Matrix of the factor loading for all fifty-nine (59) items showed rotation converged in 16 iterations.
Eight (8) items loaded under Factor 1. They included Items 22, 26, 30, 33, 44, 46, 49 and 52. These items encompassed the following: have a high paying job in the future (Item 22), pass all my subjects (Item 26) have a stable job in the future (Item 30), secure my future (Item 33), improve my chances of being employed in a good company (Item 46), be able to support my future family (Item 49) and finish my studies (Item 52).
Eight (8) items loaded under Factor 2. They included Items 3, 5, 18, 23, 35, 36, 55 and 57. These items encompassed the following: have a friendly competition among classmates (Item 3), do well compared to other students (Item 5), impress others regarding my academic rating (Item 18), perform better than the other students (Item 23), graduate with honors (Item 35), show others that I can excel academically (Item 36), receive grades higher than the majority of my classmates (Item 55) and feel rewarded every time I am recognized with my accomplishments (Item 57).
Eighteen (18) items loaded under Factor 3. They included Items 2, 6, 7, 9, 11, 16, 19, 20, 27, 32, 34, 41, 43, 45, 51, 53, 58 and 59. They encompassed the following: pay back my family for all the sacrifices they made while I am studying (Item 2), help my parents (Item 6), be a good example to my siblings (Item 7), give my parents a sense of pride (Item 9), financially support my family after I graduate (Item 11), give back to my parents (Item 16), give my siblings the opportunity to finish their studies (Item 19), see the fruit of my parents’ hard work (Item 20), give thanks to God (Item 27), thank my parents for giving me the opportunity to study (Item 32), fulfill my parents’ dream to see me graduate from college (Item 34), see the fruit of my parents’ work in sending me to school (Item 41), fulfill my parents’ dreams (Item 43), provide for my family’s needs (Item 45), meet my parents’ expectations (Item 51), improve our family’s financial situation (Item 53), help my parents and siblings have a good future (Item 58) and make my parents proud (Item 59).
Fourteen (14) items loaded under Factor 4. They included Items 1, 4, 10, 14, 15, 21, 24, 31, 38, 39, 40, 47, 48 and 56. They encompassed the following: learn as much as I can (Item 1),do charity works (Item 4), establish a career than suits my skills and characteristics (Item 10), gained a better understanding of the course or subject matter (Item 14), share my learning with others (Item 15), push my classmates to do well also (Item 21), challenge myself to do well in my course (Item 24), know myself better (Item 31), share with others the struggles I faced as a student (Item38), maximize the opportunity to study given to me by my parents (Item 39), develop a sense of perseverance (Item 40), give my best all the time (Item 47), give back to others in the future (Item 48) and use my skills to contribute to society (Item 56)
The four (4) factors extracted were labelled accordingly: Factor 1 is future orientation goals; factor 2 is performance goals; factor 3 is social orientation goals; factor 4 is mastery goals. In Factor 1, all the items were oriented towards the future (i.e., having a job in the future, securing the future, improving my chances of being employed in a good company). Achievement goals are about having goals as motives, and it is not surprising therefore that one of the factors extracted focused on foresight. Having future goals as motivation for doing well academically is seemingly congruent with achievement goals. Factor 1 was labelled future orientation goals as having this means how our respondents, as college students, are thinking of their future and are planning. Alfred Adler, in his Theory of Individual Psychology, reduced people’s motivation to striving towards a final goal that unifies personality and explains all behavior (Feist, et al, 2013). Achievement goals is about the future goals of the students and how these motivate them in their academic behavior now.
The other three (3) factors extracted are all supported by previous literature on achievement goals. Performance goals (Factor 2) focus on outperforming one’s peers (Senko, 2011). This is evident in the items, i.e., have a friendly competition among classmates, do well compared with other students, impress others regarding my academic rating, perform better than the other students, receive grades higher than most of my classmates. One component added to performance goals is the concept of reinforcement when there is recognition for an accomplishment
Social orientation goals as Factor 3 are supported by Hopkins (1998) who stated that students pursue specific social outcomes as part of their goal orientations. Social orientation goals extracted included items such as the following: help my parents, be a good example to my siblings, give my parents a sense of pride, fulfill my parents’ dream to see me graduate from college, among others. All these items emphasized the relationships between the student who wants to do well academically and his/her parents and/or siblings. There was one element that is interesting under Factor 3, and that is doing well academically to give thanks to God. The Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country, and this belief in God could have translated into one’s achievement goals. While one cannot do an operational definition of God, it would be more prudent to refer to a supernatural being who motivates Filipino college students to do well academically.
Factor 4 was labelled mastery goals as it showed items about acquiring competence or completing a task, i.e., learn as much as I can, know myself better, achieve the things I wish for in life. There however are three (3) items included under Factor 4 that are more service oriented than mastery goal oriented. These are: do charity works, give back to others in the future and use my skills to contribute to society. This could be an added component to mastery goals, wherein service oriented goals could be subsumed under mastery goals if doing charity work and contributing to society would be considered as tasks to be completed. It is also worth mentioning that having service-oriented goals may also be related with social orientation goals, as doing charity work is about working and contributing towards a better society.
Table 1 below presents the statistical description of the four (4) factors, including its mean, standard deviation, and correlation Pearson R. The correlation matrix of the four (4) factors does not show high correlation among them. This means that while the four (4) factors show some degree of correlation, they are still distinct enough to be separated
This study explored the dimensions associated with the achievement goals of Filipino college students. Four (4) factors were extracted using EFA. They are as follows: future orientation goals; performance goals; social orientation goals and mastery goals. Future orientation goals were goals that focused on the students’ future, i.e., job, future family. This factor could be a new dimension to the achievement goal theory. The other three (3) factors extracted support previous literature on the achievement goal theory. An added component to social orientation goals that was revealed in this paper was studying well to give thanks to a higher being. Another new dimension to mastery goal was not just studying for the sake of learning, but adding a goal that is oriented towards being of service to others
Recommendations for Future Research
This study was limited to college students currently enrolled in the different Philippine colleges and/or universities. It would benefit the phenomena if research targeting different populations could be done on achievement goals. This could include the population of one school and exploring the dimensions associated with their achievement goals, and how these dimensions might relate to their school’s values, i.e., targeting Benedictine schools and exploring if their Benedictine values could be a factor in why students do well academically in their school. A modified assessment tool may also be recommended for future studies. Questionnaire used in this study had fifty-nine (59) items. This might have contributed to test fatigue with some of the respondents.
Another test with less items might provide similar results, i.e., if the Eigenvalue suffices for 12 items, maybe a questionnaire with 12 items would be enough to get the same results. It is also recommended that a Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) also be performed on the same data set to do a second order factor analysis of achievement goals.
An overarching construct of social goals could be true of Filipinos with mastery goals, performance goals and future orientation goals subsumed under social goals. Bernardo (2008) stated that achievement motivation within the Asian culture is socially oriented and not individually oriented, with research showing that both mastery and performance goals are positively related to academic achievement.
Reflections on Practices
It is vital for teachers to tap into their students’ motivation for academic performance. This is especially relevant now in the face of remote learning amidst the pandemic. Indeed, teachers must incorporate encouraging their students’ performance goals, mastery goals, social orientation goals and future orientation goals. In social orientation goals, it may be applied into the Filipino context by including a goal of being of service to others and giving thanks to a higher being. Motivated students lead to better academic achievement. Thus, one of the roles of teachers is to stoke the fire of motivation in their students.
The author is grateful to Ms. Renierose Hernandez for her help in data collection, Dr. Jerome Ouano of De La Salle University for his invaluable help in the formulation of this paper and to Mr. Lean Yao for his support and clarifications.
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Sandra Co Shu Ming is a faculty at both Far Eastern University – Manila and St. Scholastica’s College – Manila. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Educational Psychology at De La Salle University. Her research interests include inclusive education, cognition, and motivation.
ASIAN JOURNAL ON PERSPECTIVES IN EDUCATION
Far Eastern University
Institute of Education
FEU Campus, Nicanor Reyes Street, Sampaloc
Manila, Philippines, 1015