Goal orientation refers to students’ reasons for engaging in various achievement behaviors in a particular situation. These reasons may be to learn (a mastery orientation), to do better than others (a performance-approach orientation) or to avoid failure (a performance-avoidance orientation). While a combination of mastery and performance goals may be ideal for learning and achievement, the mastery goal orientation is typically associated with more desirable outcomes such as high engagement, intrinsic motivation, and persistence. Chapter 7 discusses how goal orientation impacts motivation and what science teachers can do to foster productive goals among their students.

Resources to support teachers in promoting productive student goal orientation can be found by clicking on the links shown at right. Those resources include handouts and activities, further reading, links to recommended websites, and short (~ 3 minute) video clips illustrating the importance of this concept to practicing scientists and showing exemplary high school teachers who practice the strategies recommended in the book.