- Do freshmen achieve less of their personal and academic short-term goals in comparison to upperclassmen?
Some may intuitively assume that due to age, or lack of experience, college freshmen would have lower perceived task-specific ability (self-efficacy) and actually achieve less (goal-completion ranging from 0% to 100%). Differences between various class-standing levels are compared in many contexts such as vocational competency & vocational purpose (e.g. Flowers, 2002). This study attempts to compare freshmen and upperclassmen on self-efficacy & goal achievement.
Koestner, Lekes, Powers, and Chicoine (2002) found that self-efficacy negatively correlates with difficulty of self-set, short-term goals. More broadly, Schunk (1990) found that goal difficulty correlates negatively with initial doubts about goal attainment. Additionally, Mento, Locke, and Klein (1992) found that setting difficult performance goals is negatively correlated with attainment-expectations. Difficulty seems to be a crucial player in achievement of goals, and it sparked our interest in examining self-identified difficult goals.
The purpose of the study was to investigate if there is a difference between freshmen and upperclassmen in:
1) Self-efficacy when pursuing difficult goals
2) Goal achievement when pursuing difficult goals