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The achievement goal approach has attained prominence in the achievement motivation literature and has produced a valuable empirical yield. However, the precise nature of the achievement goal construct is in need of scrutiny, as is the issue of how achievement goals and their antecedents combine to produce competence-based self-regulation. In this article, we address these important conceptual issues in the context of the hierarchical model of achievement motivation. The approach-avoidance distinction, which has been an integral part of the achievement motivation literature since its inception, is highlighted throughout.