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Br J Educ Psychol. 2008 Jun;78(Pt 2):331-53. Epub 2007 Nov 23.

Validation of a Chinese achievement goal orientation questionnaire.

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  • 1Department of Curriculum and Instruction, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong.



The mixed findings of previous studies on the nature and effects of performance goals have led to a call for re-examination of the dichotomous framework of achievement goal orientation theory. While the call for a revised achievement goal orientation theory has received considerable discussion in Western studies, it is not clear whether the revised theory can also be applied in other ethnic and cultural contexts.


Our aim was to validate the Chinese version of Elliot and Church's (1007) Goal Orientation Questionnaire and to initially test the revised goal orientation theory in the context of Chinese students in Hong Kong.


A total of 270 Chinese students (137 boys and 133 girls) from a primary and secondary school in Hong Kong participated in Study 1. Study 2 involved a total of 9,440 students (5,420 boys and 4,020 girls) from 10 primary and 18 secondary schools in Hong Kong.


Participants in Study 1 completed a Chinese Goal Orientation Questionnaire (CGOQ) measuring three types of goal orientation. Exploratory factor analysis, item-total correlation, and reliability analyses were undertaken to assess the psychometric quality of the CGOQ. In Study 2, confirmatory factor analysis was used to provide further validation for the revised questionnaire. The relationships among different goal orientations and that with students' perceived classroom environment and self-efficacy were also explored using structural equation modelling.


Findings of exploratory factor analysis in Study 1 and confirmatory factor analysis in Study 2 supported the proposed factor structure of the CGOQ. All the subscales in the questionnaire also showed good internal consistency reliabilities. The construct validity of the CGOQ was supported by its significant relationship with criterion measures. While most of the relationships between the three types of goal orientation and the learning-related variables measured in our study were consistent with the revised goal orientation theory, the positive relationships between performance-avoidance goals, mastery goals, and perceived classroom environment were different from previous studies.


Our findings generally supported the trichotomous framework of the revised goal orientation theory with Chinese students in Hong Kong. Consistent with the revised goal orientation theory, our findings indicated that both mastery and performance-approach goals had positive impacts on students' learning. However, the positive relationships between performance-avoidance goals, mastery goals, and perceived classroom environment were contradictory to the conceptualization of performance-avoidance goals in the revised theory. Cultural and social factors affecting Hong Kong students' goal orientations are discussed.

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