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Achievement goals and school achievement across the transition to secondary school: a person-centered approach


Achievement goals are regarded as important determinants of school learning. There is growing interest in the relationship between achievement goals and school achievement. However, much of the research has used traditional variable-centered approaches by focusing on how specific goals are related to specific outcomes. Such an approach is limited in revealing the complex associations between motivational strivings and school achievement. Less attention has been paid to the perspective that individuals may endorse multiple goals simultaneously, and there are multiple ways that achievement goals affect learning.


Accordingly, the general aims of this research is employ a person-centered approach to investigate the association and changes between distinct achievement goal patterns and school achievement among students facing educational transitions from elementary to secondary school.


This study is based on a large-scale research project (TIMSS-transition 2007) in Germany, with a representative sample of students from fourth to seventh grade. The main research questions of my dissertation are:

• What kinds of achievement goal patterns can be identified among elementary and secondary school students?

 How stable are the achievement goal patterns across the transition to secondary school?

• How are achievement goal patterns associated with school achievement and other academic outcomes?