Personal best (PB) goal structure, individual PB goals, engagement, and achievement: A study of Chinese- and English-speaking background students in Australian schools

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Abstract

Background.

Prior cross-cultural research with students in different national contexts (Australia and China) has shown consistency in the extent to which individual personal best (PB) goals are associated with engagement at school.

Aims.

This study extends this work to a multicultural context, assessing perceived PB goal structure in school and individual PB goals among Chinese- and English-speaking background Australian high school students attending the same schools.

Sample.

A sample of 450 students (N = 225 Chinese-speaking background Australian students; N = 225 matched English-speaking background Australian students) from 20 schools.

Method.

We conducted multigroup path modelling to examine the following process model: Perceived PB goal structure in school → individual PB goals → school engagement → academic achievement.

Results.

Findings showed that for both groups, perceived PB goal structure in school is associated with an individual's PB goals (and engagement), individual PB goals are associated with engagement, and engagement is associated with achievement. The indirect effects of perceived PB goal structure in school to achievement (via individual PB goals and engagement) and individual PB goals to achievement (via engagement) were also significant. Notably, there was no significant difference in parameters between Chinese- and English-speaking background students, suggesting generality of the effects of perceived PB goal structure in school and individual PB goals in the engagement and achievement process.

Conclusion.

Findings hold implications for educators teaching to culturally diverse classrooms and seeking to optimize students' academic growth within these contexts.

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