A Correlation Study among Achievement Motivation, Goal-Setting and L2 Learning Strategy in EFL Context

  •  Jing Han    
  •  Qingsheng Lu    


Achievement motivation as one of the most important parts in learning motivation indicates a concern with success in competition with some standard of excellence. Learners who are highly motivated to learn a language are likely to use a variety of strategies. Besides achievement motivation, goal setting, a very important cognitive mediator between motivational antecedents and motivational behaviour, becomes another variable influencing learners’ strategy use. Therefore, the current study will focus the influence of achievement motivation and goal setting on learners' strategy use, aiming to deal with (1) the typical types of learning strategies held by the college students under investigation; (2) effect of different levels of achievement motivation on the use of learning strategies; (3) the relationship among goal-setting, learning strategies and achievement motivation. The results show that compensation and metacognitive strategies are reported as being used the most frequently, followed by cognitive and affective strategies, while the three least frequently used individual strategies involve “use words differently”, “start L2 conversation”, and “ask for native’s help”. Concerning the relationship between achievement motivation and strategy use, motive to achieve success (Ms) is positively and significantly correlated with four of the six types of learning strategies, i.e. cognitive, metacognitive, affective and social strategies. On the contrary, motive to avoid failure (Mf) is negatively but not significantly correlated with all the strategies. With regard to goal-setting and strategy use, the study shows that all six learning strategies are significantly correlated with goal-setting except affective strategies. As to relationship between goal-setting and achievement motivation, motive to achieve success (Ms) has significant positive relations with three levels of goal-setting, while motive to avoid failure (Mf) is positively related to “short-term goal” and “mastery goal”.

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