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Goal setting is utilized by adults regularly to foster success. It has also been shown to benefit academic achievement. This 8-week study sought to determine the effects of goal setting on motivation, self-efficacy, and math achievement in elementary students. The quasi-experimental study included 70 students in 3rd and 4th grade math classes. Students in the experimental group were involved in setting an achievement goal for fluency of multiplication facts. The students monitored their progress through a weekly graphing and reflection activity. The results indicated that elementary students involved in setting goals showed an increase in their mathematical performance of multiplication facts. However, based on the results from this study, goal setting did not have an impact on motivation or selfefficacy. These results support the concept of goal setting theory in the academic setting, suggesting that it may be beneficial for teachers to include goal setting in their day-to-day instructional practices, though further research on its effect on affective traits is warranted.

Keywords: goal setting, motivation, self-efficacy, elementary, mathematics, goal setting theory


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
19 Jul 2022
403 kB



  • Institution
    • Cumming

  • Publisher
    • International Journal of Instruction

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Author Biography:

      Jacklyne Sides is a public school teacher and graduate alumni of the University of North Georgia. Josh Cuevas is a professor and educational psychologist at the University of North Georgia.