Asee peer logo

Exploring the Role of Students’ Achievement Goals and Learning Approaches in Academic Performance

Download Paper |


2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Division Technical Session 7

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Eliza A Banu University of Georgia

visit author page

Dr. Eliza Banu has a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania and completed her Ph.D. program in Mechanical Engineering at Auburn University in 2014. Dr. Banu's research interests are in biomechanics and developing innovative instructional materials and techniques. She is Assistant Editor for the Journal of STEM Education: Research and Innovation and affiliated with the Engineering Education Transformation Institute (EETI) at UGA. Dr. Banu is part of the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia since August 2017.

visit author page


Nathaniel Hunsu University of Georgia

visit author page

Nathaniel Hunsu is an assistant professor of Engineering Education. He is affiliated with the Engineering Education Transformational Institute and the school of electrical and computer engineering at the university. His interest is at the nexus of the research of epistemologies, learning mechanics and assessment of learning in engineering education. His research focuses on learning for conceptual understanding, and the roles of learning strategies, epistemic cognition and student engagements in fostering conceptual understanding. His research also focuses on understanding how students interact with learning tasks and their learning environment. His expertise also includes systematic reviews and meta-analysis, quantitative research designs, measurement inventories development and validation.

visit author page

Download Paper |


How students approach learning could be indicative of their cognitive engagement with the learning tasks they encounter in their engineering programs. Their cognitive engagement with learning tasks could have implication for actual performance and whether they continue to feel motivated to deeply engage with learning, or become disengaged, disinterested and eventually consider dropping out of their engineering program. However, students’ approach to learning engineering material could be deeply ingrained in their achievement goal orientation – meaning that efforts at helping students to become better learners might benefit from helping them set and realize achievement goals that orientate them towards adopting productive learning habits. In this study, we examined the relationships between the achievement goals that students adopt, their approach to learning and performance in an engineering classroom. Participants included 87 students enrolled in an introductory Fluid Mechanics course. Students participated in classroom activities and exam scores as well as took measures of achievement goal and learning approach. We conducted correlational analysis of three goal types: task-related, self-related and other-related, and two learning approaches: deep learning and surface learning strategies and student’s final performance in the class. Lastly, we conducted multiple regression analysis to determine the relative contribution of each variable to predicting students’ academic performance. Implications of these findings for student engagement in engineering classrooms will be discussed.

Banu, E. A., & Hunsu, N. (2019, June), Exploring the Role of Students’ Achievement Goals and Learning Approaches in Academic Performance Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32818

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015