Achievement Goal Setting: Implications
Locke and Latham’s (2002) review of the goal-setting research suggest the following implications:
    • See Locke and Latham (2002) for theoretical models that describe the hypothesized relations between assigned goals, self- set goals, self-efficacy, and performance, and the essential elements of Goal-Setting Theory and a “high performance cycle.”
  • Specific and difficult goals lead to higher performance than do simple admonitions to students to “do their best.”  Research suggests that “do-your-best” goals have “no external referent and thus are defined idiosyncratically. This allows for a wide range of acceptable performance levels, which is not the case when a goal level is specified” (Locke & Latham, 2002, p. 706).
  • Goal setting is a key variable in self-regulated learning.
  • The goals set, or endorsed by a student, are hypothesized to play an important role in the student’s subsequent satisfaction or dissatisfaction vis-à-vis the provision of a criterion point for the performance standard. 
  • Specific academic goals are a necessary but insufficient condition for maintaining effort.  Students need formative and summative feedback on their progress toward goals.  Consistent feedback allows students the opportunity to adjust their strategies and/or the direction or level of their effort.