Here we found a paper that tells about students’ beliefs about
goal orientation.

Students’ beliefs about goal orientation
Students who are mastery-oriented learn more than students who are ego-oriented.

Research findings
An important motivational belief that has not been discussed
so far is goal orientation. The way students’ orient themselves
to learning tasks within a domain is a strong indicator of their
engagement and performance. Students who learn because
they want to master a new skill use more effective learning
strategies than students who are ego-oriented. The latter
students engage in learning tasks with the intention to
demonstrate success (approach ego-orientation) or to hide
failure (avoidance ego-orientation). The motivation process of
mastery-oriented students differs from that of ego-oriented
students in many ways. For example, Stefano shows mastery orientation
in relation to the math domain and ego-orientation
in relation to language domain. He starts on his math homework
before dinner because he wants to find out whether he
can solve the problems. He is prepared to invest effort because
he values mathematics and enjoys improving his math skills.
When Stefano meets obstacles while doing math, he asks
himself: ‘How can I make it work?’ He is not ashamed that
others hear about his mistakes. On the contrary, he always
volunteers to show his solution plan, because he appreciates
the feedback he gets. In contrast, Stefano does not want others
to find out that he made many spelling and grammatical
mistakes in a text.
Sandra also values mathematics but for different reasons.
She is ego-oriented in math class. She wants to demonstrate
success to change other people’s opinion about her math ability.
Sandra invests effort in math as long as she feels confident that
she can find the correct solution. She gives up when she spots
mistakes, because she believes that there is only one correct
solution. These beliefs fuel her fear that others will use her
mistakes as proof of her math ability.
Two research findings should be reported here. Firstly,
students display a dominant goal orientation (ego or mastery)
by the time they are in second grade, and striving for ego-orientation
goals becomes more dominant as children proceed
through primary school. They become progressively more
concerned with their self-worth, express more concern for peer status
and avoid doing things that the group rejects (fear of
alienation). By the fourth grade, avoidance ego goals (e.g.
wanting to hide mistakes) have already assumed a prominent
position. A second finding shows that teachers set up
dominantly competitive or co-operative learning settings in class.
Teachers who highlight evaluation procedures, give public
feedback, frequently make social comparisons and refer to
individual abilities create a competitive atmosphere and elicit
ego-oriented thoughts and feelings.

Motivating your students
The extent to which you succeed in creating a mastery-oriented
learning setting is an indication of your professional competence.
You can play down ego-orientation by explaining to your
students that you are not interested in seeing one correct
outcome, but that you focus instead on their attempts to come
up with a solution strategy. Students will only believe this ‘trying
is more important than the product’ statement when you act
according to what you preach. In other words, provide feedback
with respect to the solution plan, encourage students to
exchange information about the strategies they used and allow
them to learn from their mistakes. This is a difficult job since
ego-oriented students get annoyed when they have to reflect
on their mistakes. By using supportive comments that highlight
their involvement, progress and effort you will convince them
that you value their attempts to solve problems, particularly
when they reflect about what did not work out and why.
Mastery-orientation will develop when these students take pride
in finding parts of a solution and in catching errors in progress.

References: Elliot, 1999; Niemivirta, 1999; Pintrich, 2001;
Turner & Meyer, 1998; Vermeer et al., 2000.

Educational Practices Series-10 booklet, Motivation to learn by Monique Boekaerts were retrieved on October 14, 2011

Sufyan Suri (2009110031) Richa Fatimah(2009110007) Ester Anitasari (2009110009)