Author: Kathryn R. Wentzel, Sandra A. Baker, Shannon L. Russell
Full Citation: Wentzel, K. R., Baker, S. A., & Russell, S. L. (2012). Young adolescents’ perceptions of teachers’ and peers’ goals as predictors of social and academic goal pursuit. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 61(4), 605–633.
Overview: Young Mexican American adolescents' perceptions of socially derived goals of teachers and peers were examined as predictors of their pursuit of social goals (to be prosocial and responsible) and academic goals (to learn and to perform well), while controlling for perceived parental goals. The role of perceived emotional caring in mediating relations between socially derived goals and goal pursuit also was examined.
Fifth- and sixth-grade students (n=464) from 10 schools (27 classrooms) in a public school district in the Southwest participated in the project.
Findings: Results of multiple regression analyses indicated that social and academic expectations from peers were the most consistent positive predictors of students' social and academic goals. Mediating effects were also found such that perceived caring from teachers and peers partly explained relations between socially derived goals and students' academic and social goal pursuits.
- Perceived social and academic expectations from peers were significant, positive predictors of both types of academic goals; social expectations from teachers also predicted goals to learn, and academic expectations from teachers predicted pursuit of performance goals.
- However, when perceived emotional support was taken into account, only perceived social expectations from peers predicted learning goals and teacher academic expectations predicted performance goals.
- With regard to prosocial and social responsibility goal pursuit, perceived peer expectations for social and academic outcomes were significant, positive predictors, and social expectations of peers remained a significant predictor of these goals when perceived emotional support was taken into account.
- Parental expectations were not significant predictors of goal pursuit once teachers’ and peer expectations were entered into the models.