attitudes, achievement motivation, calculus


This study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) examines students’ learning goals and attitudes toward mathematics in a first-year calculus course in undergraduate engineering education. Achievement motivation research using the Achievement Goal Questionnaire (AGQ) is advanced from current literature with two additions: (1) a course specific context using introductory college calculus students, and (2) participation of Norwegian students.

Pre- and posttest measures of attitudes indicate that students do change learning goals over time, unfortunately opposite to the instructors’ aspirations. A significant increase in “Mastery Avoidance” and “Work Avoidance” was accompanied with a drop in “Mastery Approach” and “Performance Approach”. Variables such as value, motivation and enjoyment decreased along with a significant drop in self-confidence.



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