Poster Number

044

Session Title

The College Experience

Document Type

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor

Donna Nelson, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Psychology

Description

First-generation college students (FGCS) enter college less academically prepared than their peers. Additionally, FGCS encounter more academic difficulty and earn lower grades compared to their counterparts. As such, it is important to find ways to increase academic confidence and performance among FGCS. One potential avenue for doing so may be to influence their goal orientation when approaching academic work. Process goals focus on the steps needed to achieve a desired outcome, while outcome goals focus on the desired outcome itself. Research suggests that, for difficult tasks, process goals result in greater levels of performance, lower feelings of anxiety, and higher perceptions of self-efficacy than outcome goals. The present study manipulated goal orientation on a difficult task, and then measured confidence and performance with respect to a subsequent pop quiz. It was expected for FGCS to exhibit lower academic confidence and performance compared to non-FGCS when instructed to adopt outcome goals; however, no such differences when participants were instructed to adopt process goals were to be expected. Participants consisted of 29 FGCS and 38 non-FGCS students in introductory psychology courses. All participants completed a challenging anagram task. Students were randomly assigned to either the Process Goal Condition or the Outcome Goal Condition. Results confirmed that FGCS benefited from process goals.

Previously Presented/Performed?

SAEOPP McNair/SSS Scholars Research Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, June 2019; Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 2020; Sixth Annual Showcase of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors (SOURCE), Winthrop University, April 2020

Grant Support?

Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program grant from the U.S. Department of Education

Share

COinS
 
Apr 24th, 12:00 AM

Process Goals Raise Academic Confidence and Performance of First-Generation College Students

First-generation college students (FGCS) enter college less academically prepared than their peers. Additionally, FGCS encounter more academic difficulty and earn lower grades compared to their counterparts. As such, it is important to find ways to increase academic confidence and performance among FGCS. One potential avenue for doing so may be to influence their goal orientation when approaching academic work. Process goals focus on the steps needed to achieve a desired outcome, while outcome goals focus on the desired outcome itself. Research suggests that, for difficult tasks, process goals result in greater levels of performance, lower feelings of anxiety, and higher perceptions of self-efficacy than outcome goals. The present study manipulated goal orientation on a difficult task, and then measured confidence and performance with respect to a subsequent pop quiz. It was expected for FGCS to exhibit lower academic confidence and performance compared to non-FGCS when instructed to adopt outcome goals; however, no such differences when participants were instructed to adopt process goals were to be expected. Participants consisted of 29 FGCS and 38 non-FGCS students in introductory psychology courses. All participants completed a challenging anagram task. Students were randomly assigned to either the Process Goal Condition or the Outcome Goal Condition. Results confirmed that FGCS benefited from process goals.

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.