Monday, April 12, 2004

Mastery Goal Orientation vs. Performance Goal Orientation

After a little research on the internet, I found that the way I was using the term "mastery orientation" in my last post was somewhat misinformed, and that the term has a specific meaning in the field of education, as does another term which was new to me, "performance orientation."

I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to orient my students toward mastery. As I wrote that, I was using "mastery" to mean a mode of learning by which the learner focuses on acquiring a set of skills and knowledge fully before moving on to the next task. I had used my class orientation in the past as a contrast by saying that before students could earn a passing grade by learning 60% of what was on offer. My intentions now are to focus on each set of skills and knowledge as a prerequisite for moving on to the next set.

I come to learn, after looking at a few articles that I found on this search from Google, that "Mastery" is lingo used in the field of education, and its partner is something called "Performance."

My reasons for that kind of focus were that students know that if they limit my expectiations by non-performance, they will be passed on. Conversely, if they know that the bar is set higher, and that they are in control of first when they jump and how often, they can use that control and learn in a setting more condusive to their styles.

One really easy to understand explanation of these two types of orientation is this one by Dr. Kevin Pugh at the University of Toledo. He has a page called "Motivational Project-Goal Theory," which is loaded with information on what goals are and how to incorporate them into your classroom and school system.

I'm really looking forward to understanding them better and trying to incorporate the concepts into my classroom.

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