What Impact do Boys’ Goal Orientations have on their Reading Achievement?

Assignment type: Essay
Author: Rebecca Murphy
Submitted: December 2010

Underachievement in boys’ reading attainment remains a concern in schools in England, despite numerous interventions. Many factors have been considered as influencing boys’ reading activity and subsequent academic achievement. These factors have included motivation. Recent motivational research has focused on goal orientations. This essay examines the evidence regarding boys’ goal orientations and considers their impact on reading achievement.  Mastery goals are considered beneficial to the reading process. Performance goals are debated as adaptive or maladaptive. A multi-goal theory is considered with the resulting argument that performance goals are detrimental for reading development. The essay argues that boys are more performance-orientated than girls. The development of performance related goals is examined and found to initiate from an early stage, even pre-school. A conclusion is reached that goal orientations do impact significantly on boys’ reading achievement with an acknowledgement of an important impact from environmental factors. A joint influence of personal and contextual goals is the resulting conclusion. Alternative factors impacting on reading achievement are considered. These include peers, home environment, and attitudes to reading. The implications for Educational Psychologists are outlined.

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