chapter  11
30 Pages

Goal Setting: A Key Proactive Source of Academic Self-Regulation

We are, in a very real sense, defined by the goals that we set for ourselves. Our goals commit us behaviorally to a particular standard or outcome: “A goal is the object or aim of an action, for example, to attain a specific standard of proficiency, usually within a specified time limit” (Locke & Latham, 2002, p. 705). This standard becomes a source of personal feedback about our effectiveness and self-regulatory control. The importance of goal setting to the attainment of one’s aspirations was first studied by Lewin and his colleagues (Lewin, Dembo, Festinger, & Sears, 1944). Today, there is an extensive body of research, encompassing diverse areas of expertise, indicating the importance of goal setting to one’s learning proficiency and performance attainments (e.g., Burton, Nayler, & Holliday, 2001; Locke & Latham, 1990; Schunk, 1989, 2001).