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APA CENTENNIAL FEATURE Classrooms: Goals, Structures, and Student Motivation Carole Ames Department of Educational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign This article examines the classroom learning environment in relation to achievement goal theory of motivation. Classroom structures are described in terms of how they make different types of achievement goals salient and as a consequence elicit qualitatively different patterns of motiva- tion. Task, evaluation and recognition, and authority dimensions of classrooms are presented as examples of structures that can influence children's orientation toward different achievement goals. Central to the thesis of this article is a perspective that argues for an identification of classroom structures that can contribute to a mastery orientation, a systematic analysis of these structures, and a determination of how these structures relate to each other. The ways in which interventions must address the independency among these structures are discussed in terms of how they influence student motivation. Over the past 25 years, considerable research and writings have addressed how classroom learning environments influ- ence student learning, but more recent attention has focused on how classroom environments influence students' views about the nature and purposes of learning. In an earlier article, Ames and Ames (1984) described how learning environments can be differentiated in terms of specific informational cues (e.g., social comparative vs. self-referenced feedback) and how they influence students' processing of information and cog- nitions about their performance. In that article, Ames and Ames examined how the structure of learning environments can make different goals salient and consequently affect how students think about themselves, their tasks, and others. Considerable research is now focused on describing how different goals elicit qualitatively different motivational pat- terns and how these goals are reflected in the broader context of classroom learning environments. Establishing linkages between the environment, goals, and student motivational outcomes has been very important; determining how to create these goals in the classroom is a next step, albeit not an easy one. The purpose of this article is to move in this direction, that is, toward defining those classroom structures that are theoretically related to different goals but that also have practical elements because they are manipulable by teachers This article was prepared while Carole Ames was supported in part by Grants DE-HO23T8OO23 and DE-R215A93170 from the U.S. Department of Education. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. Department of Education.... View Full Document

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