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Learn about the 2X2 achievement goal framework and understand a better way to view (and plan) your goals.
What is the 2×2 achievement goal framework?
Until 2001, when this study was published, goals were divided into three types: mastery, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance:
|I will score higher than last time.
|I will score the highest in my class.
|I will avoid scoring worse than my classmates.
|I will exercise three times a week.
|I will look sexy by losing 5 pounds.
|I will stop looking ugly by losing 5 pounds.
|I will learn how to get my work done better and faster.
|I will get a good performance review.
|I will avoid getting negative feedback.
A mastery goal was one where a person tried to accomplish something in absolute or intrapersonal terms, e.g. setting a new personal best or learning a new skill.
A performance-approach goal was one where a person tried to do better than their peers, e.g. scoring higher or getting promoted.
A performance-avoidance goal was one where a person tried to avoid doing worse than their peers, e.g. avoid embarrassment or negative feedback.
Until this study, it was assumed that mastery goals were the best, performance-approach goals were sometimes good and sometimes bad, and performance-avoidance goals were always bad. The implicit assumption was there were no bad mastery goals (in other words, no mastery-avoidance goals.)
This study challenged those assumptions by first proving that master-avoidance goals exist, and second proving that each goal type can be useful, depending on the circumstances.
Goal Experiments 1 & 2
Exploratory factor analysis was used to break down the 12 goal setting questions into 4 factors, as seen below. Confirmatory factor analysis was later used to show that mastery-avoidance and mastery-approach better fit the data than mastery alone.
These questions in turn were derived from a series of pilot studies. The questions for performance-approach, performance-avoidance, and mastery-approach were taken from prior questionnaires, while questions for mastery-avoidance were created. Once combined, the factor analysis above was used to confirm that each set of questions represented and exposed different goal-setting components. The questions used and the factor they correspond to can be seen below:
Those with a high motive to achieve were found to be more likely to use approach goals, while those with a high motive to avoid failure were found to be more likely to use avoidance goals.
Goal Experiment 3
Those more likely to use performance-approach goals were more likely to have higher exam scores, while those more likely to use performance-avoidance goals were more likely to have lower exam scores.
On the other hand, those more likely to use performance-approach goals were more likely to visit the health center, while those more likely to use mastery-approach goals were less likely.
Full study here.
Elliot, A. J., & McGregor, H. A. (2001). A 2 x 2 achievement goal framework.Journal of personality and social psychology, 80(3), 501-519.