The contributions and prospects of goal orientation theory

Avi Kaplan, Martin L. Maehr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

600 Scopus citations


In the last two decades, goal orientation theory has become an important perspective in the field of achievement motivation, and particularly in academic motivation. However, as research in the theory has proliferated, the use of multiple methods to assess goal orientations seems to have contributed to theoretical vagueness, especially with regard to the origin, development, and stability of these orientations. This review article starts with a critique of methods used in goal orientation research. The article then suggests six possible theoretical models of goal orientations that seem to be suggested by the literature, including the perspectives of goal orientations as emerging from: situation-schemas, self-schemas, self-prime, needs, values, and situated meaning-making processes. The article concludes with pointing to convergent findings, implications for practice, and persisting as well as emerging issues for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-184
Number of pages44
JournalEducational Psychology Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2007


  • Achievement
  • Goals
  • Method
  • Motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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