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Exploring the impact of a reflective goal setting quasi-intervention on academic growth and performance

posted on 02.02.2021, 14:30 by Cheryl TraversCheryl Travers, Alistair Cheyne
This paper explores the impact of reflective goal setting on academic growth and performance. Data are reported from two cohorts of final year undergraduates (n=251) undertaking an elective 15-week personal development program. Participants set goals and documented their progress using written reflective documents. Qualitative analysis showed that most participants perceived academic growth to have taken place and anticipated improved academic performance. Thematic analysis identified a range of influencing factors; academic growth-specific goals, psychological factors, and reflective goal setting features. Participants also reported non-specific effects from general personal development goals. Eighty participants were identified, based on their goal types, with a group (n=40) setting at least one academic growth goal (AG), and a group (n=40) with only general personal development goals (GG). Groups were matched for gender, age and baseline performance with a contrast group of 40 non-goal setting (NG) peers from the same degree programs. Comparing growth in their core grades between grades achieved at Time 1 (semester before the reflective goal setting program) and those achieved at Time 2 (six months after the reflective goal setting program), revealed that AG and GG students experienced a significantly greater improvement over time compared with the NG group. However, there were no significant differences in academic growth between those who had set academic-related goals (AG) and those who had not (GG). Reflective goal setting appears to be a mechanism for benefits beyond initial specific goal setting domains. The implications for promoting academic growth via this unique learning and development approach are discussed.



  • Business and Economics


  • Business


AO (Author's Original)




Dr Cheryl Travers Deposit date: 26 January 2021