ASSESSMENT OF STUDY STRATEGIES AND ACHIEVEMENT GOALS OF SANDWICH STUDENTS
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This study examined study strategies and achievement goals of sandwich students in University of Ilorin.
The study found out the achievement goals held by sandwich students; study strategies adopted by sandwich students; and the relationship between achievement goal and study strategies of sandwich students.
This study employed descriptive survey research design.
The population of the study consists all regular and sandwich students of the University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria. A simple random sampling method was used to select 100 students across all the departments.
A researcher’s designed questionnaire was used to elicit information on students’ study strategies and achievement goals. Descriptive statistics of percentage and mean, and multiple regression were used for data analysis.
Findings from the study revealed that the achievement goals held by sandwich students are performance approach related goals; the sandwich students of university of Ilorin adopted surface study strategies; and that there was significant relationship among sandwich students’ achievement goals (performance approach and mastery approach) and study strategies.
It was therefore recommended that the sandwich students should be orientated on the need to adopt deep study strategies that will assist them in their academic pursuit; students should be sensitized on the importance of both mastery and performance achievement goals and the need to set realistic ones; and that the sandwich students should be orientated on the need to adopt study strategies that will commensurate with the kind of achievement goals ahead of them.
1.1 Background to the Study
With the recent rise in national development in the 21st century in various sectors including education and technology, there has been an altitudinous rise in the population of students in universities nationwide. Coupled with the advent of the western educational system in Nigeria, there is no gain-saying the fact that pursuing education up to the tertiary level has become a necessity in the average Nigerian household, both privileged and unprivileged.
Like any other country of the world, university education is one of the types of education given after secondary school education.
It usually has duration of between four and six years depending on the course being offered by the students.
For example it takes an average education, science or social science student a minimum of four years to complete the course after secondary education, whereas for medical students it takes a minimum of six years.
To satisfy individuals’ quest for knowledge, and cope with growing societal-demands by school leavers and adult workers seeking more opportunity to actively participate in Nigeria’s future, there has been a surge in demand for university-level education in recent years (Adeyemi, 2001; Nwadiani, 1993).
In response, there has been significant expansion of Nigeria’s university system, as witnessed by the establishment of 36 publicly-funded universities, and three privately owned universities (National Population Commission, 2000).
Such development can be seen as phenomenal in the sense that Nigeria’s university system has grown from only one university in 1960, to six in 1970, to 13 in 1980 (National Universities Commission, 1981), to 36 new universities by 2000.
Just as the influx of students rise by the years in these universities nationwide, the educational system has had to strategize a way to make tertiary education available for all individuals.
This strategy however, birthed the sandwich program in the tertiary institution.
As earlier stated in the paragraph above, the average university student should spend a minimum of four years studying a course with the exception of medical students who have a minimum of six years.
The sandwich program (also known as the part- time program) however has provided opportunities for the sect of individuals who for certain reasons, cannot leave their full time responsibilities to attend full time conventional education. Sandwich has also offered access to many people who would have previously been denied access to educational opportunities based on where they live and work, poor-economic circumstances, social status etc.
Having established the fact that participants of the sandwich program most times often have other full time engagements in terms of work, marriage or even health wise sometimes, one must not forget the grounds on which the university education exists which is to “acquire both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to be self-reliant and useful members of the society” (FME, 1998).
In order to achieve this feat, it is important for students and partakers in the program to engage in educational activities diligently.
At this juncture, the concept of study strategies comes into play. Study strategies are learning tendencies that enable students work privately.
Azikiwe (1998) describes study habit as “the adopted way and manner a student plans his private readings, after classroom learning so as to attain mastery of the subject”.
According to her, “good study habits are good asset to learners because they (habits) assist students to attain mastery in areas of specialization anal consequent excellent performance, while the opposite constitute constraints to learning and achievement leading to failure”.
Other researchers (Okonkwo, 1993; Gilmery, 1990; Fayley, 1989; Udom, 1987; Bakare, 1977; and Khan, 1975) agree that good study habits have positive effects on performance.
Akinboye in Ikegbunam (1998) identified ‘making of study time-table’ as one of the study ‘skills’ for students.
Study strategies also refer the various techniques students put in place or employ in achieving their study goals.
These techniques spread widely across the sectors of study habits which include styles of note-taking, listening and writing skills, time management and all other activities which involve educational activities which vary from student to student.
These techniques when properly applied in accordance with a student’s nature, enable such a student achieve the goals he or she sets out from the beginning of a semester or session.
A proper study strategy enables an individual to reap a good harvest in future as it is evident that there is indeed a direct link between study strategies and academic success.
These study strategies being referred to in the preceding paragraphs are all geared towards achieving the student’s achievement goal.
These achievement goals in this context are academicals, although the concept itself is not limited to the academic sphere alone.
It is safe to say that achievement goals are the orientations for how and why people engage in achievement situations.
These “achievement situations” can hereby equate to the study strategies put in place by the student which could be further broken down into his or her study techniques, environment, time planning and so on..
Achievement goals also refer to the underlying aims a person has while engaging in an achievement setting, whether they are academic (such as in-class assignments or test preparation) or not (such as sports, work settings, etc.).
These orientations guide interpretation of events in the achievement environment, and produce characteristic patterns of cognition, emotion and behaviors (Kaplan & Maehr, 2007).
Furthermore, achievement goals can be defined as the kind of goals (purposes or reasons) that direct achievement-related behaviors (Maehr & Zusho, 2009).
According to Maehr and Zusho (2009), researchers on the topic of achievement goals are focused on why individuals have their goals (e.g. to outperform others), instead of what individuals are trying to achieve (e.g. get a good grade).
In the 1970s and 1980s the achievement goal construct was developed by several researchers (Ames 1984; Dweck, 1986; and Nicholls, 1984).
According to Elliot et al. (2011), the conceptualizations of the offered theorists were similar enough to be referred to together as ‘the dichotomous achievement model’.
In this framework, distinctions were made between Mastery goals and Performance goals.
For Mastery goals, the purpose is to develop competence and task mastery, whereas Performance goals are to demonstrate competence (usually normative competence) (Elliot, et al., 2011).
In 1999, Elliot argued to distinguish Approach and Avoidance motivation, which differ as a function of valence. Valence is the intrinsic attractiveness or evasiveness which events, objects and situation may possess (Frijda, 1986).
In approach motivation, behavior is instigated or directed by a positive or desirable event or possibility, whereas in avoidance motivation, behavior is instigated or directed by a negative or undesirable event or possibility (Elliot, 1999).
Approach and Avoidance were first only used for Performance goals, which led to the Trichotomies framework, in which three goal constructs are distinguished: Mastery, Performance approach and Performance avoidance (Elliot, 1999).
Approach-based goals focus on success, and regulation entails trying to move toward or maintain this positive possibility.
Using success as the hub of regulatory activity evokes and sustains hope, eagerness, and excitement, as one is consistently reminded of the possibility of success (Elliot et al., 2011).
Avoidance-based goals focus on failure, and regulation entails trying to move away or keep away from this negative possibility (Elliot et al., 2011).
The idea for a 2 x 2 achievement goals model was offered by Elliot (1999) and tested by Elliot and McGregor (2001).
In this model, the Mastery goal is also bifurcated, which means there are four goal constructs: Mastery approach, Mastery avoidance, Performance approach and Performance avoidance.
Results from the studies by Elliot and McGregor (2001) provided strong support for this 2 x 2 model. As mentioned earlier, for Mastery goals it is the purpose to develop competence and task mastery.
According to Elliot et al. (2011) this contain two different standards for evaluation: Task-based and Self-based.
By splitting up the Mastery goal, they come up with a 3 x 2 achievement goal framework with six goal constructs: Task approach, Task avoidance, Self approach, Self avoidance, Other approach and Other avoidance. ‘Other based’ is the same as ‘Performance’ in previous models. See figure 1 for examples of the different goals constructs.
Absolute (Task ) Intrapersonal (Self) Interpersonal (Other)
Positive (Approaching Success) Task approach goal
(e.g. “Do the task correctly”), Self approach goal
(e.g. “Do better than before”), Other approach goal
(e.g. “Do better than others”)
Negative (Avoiding Failure) Task avoidance goal
(e.g. “Avoid doing the task incorrectly”), Self avoidance goal
(“Avoid doing worse than before”), Other avoidance goal
(e.g. “Avoid doing worse than others”)
Figure 1: The 3 x 2 Achievement Goal Model.
Task-based goals use the absolute demands of the task (e.g., getting an answer correct, understanding an idea) as the evaluative referent.
For these goals, competence is defined in terms of doing well or poorly relative to what the task itself requires. Self-based goals use one’s own intrapersonal trajectory as the evaluative referent.
Thus, for these goals, competence is defined in terms of doing well or poorly relative to how one has done in the past or has the potential to do in the future.
Other-based goals use an interpersonal evaluative referent.
For these goals, competence is defined in terms of doing well or poorly relative to others. David (2014) and Elliot et al. (2011) found support for the separation of Task-based and Self-based goals among students.
According to Elliot et al. (2011), and Wu (2012) the 3 x 2 model is a better fit to the data than the previous models.
While David (2014) and Elliot et al. (2011) found support for the separation, their results are not the same.
The Filipino students in the study of David (2014) have higher mean scores in Self-based goals, whereas the German and American students in the study of Elliot et al. (2011) have higher mean scores on Task based goals.
This can be a clue to cultural differences in achievement goals (David, 2014). According to Chen and Zhang (2011), it seems that no matter which culture an individual lives in, developing abilities (Task and Self) and/or demonstrating abilities relative to others both are the standards that he or she adopts to evaluate his or her competence.
The approach-avoidance distinction reflects how competence is valued.
Approaching positive possibilities and avoiding negative possibilities seem similar for individuals to motivate themselves in different cultures (Chen & Zhang, 2011).
The strong positive correlation between Task-based and Self-based goals seems to suggest that Task-based and Self-based goals may not be differentiated (David, 2014).
Elliot et al. (2011) found a strong correlation between these goals as well.
They argue that the use of similarly worded items in the 3 × 2 AGQ may have prompted response sets that inflated the inter correlations among the goal variables.
Murayama, Elliot, and Yamagata (2011) argue that variables measured with items containing significant semantic overlap tend to be correlated.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Usually, in the university environment, it is a common trend for regular students to complain about certain challenges especially time constraint despite the fact that they partake in the education program full time.
This factor however brings us to ponder on how exactly the sandwich students who, due to the nature of their own program, have to combine education with real life as regards their other responsibilities asides education.
It is a known fact that the ability to study effectively is important for students of any discipline to achieve success. Unfortunately apart from the usual factors which bedevil tertiary education in Nigeria like frequent campus unrest, strikes, political and socio-economic distractions etc., there are other challenges which abound within students and vary from individual to individual due to our psychological differences.
Against this backdrop, this study seeks to assess the various study strategies and achievement goals of sandwich students in the University of Ilorin.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The study seeks to find out:
❖ The achievement goals of sandwich students;
❖ The study strategies adopted by sandwich students; and
❖ The relationship between achievement goal and study strategies of sandwich students.
1.4 Research Questions
The following questions were raised to guide the conduct of the study:
❖ What are the achievement goals of sandwich students?
❖ What are the study strategies adopted by sandwich students?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses were formulated to guide the conduct of the study:
1. There is a significant relationship between study strategies and achievement goals of sandwich students in University of Ilorin.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The outcome of this study will be of immense benefit to lecturers, school administrators, school counselors, students and other members of the public who may come across the result of the study.
The research findings might be of great help to the government and other stakeholders by revealing the study strategies and achievement goals adopted by sandwich students.
This may probably guide the school administrators in curbing the issue of poor performance amongst sandwich students as a result of poor study strategies.
The findings of this study might also be useful to stakeholders in education in orientating sandwich students on the need to adopt effective study strategies and hold positive achievement goals since the result of this study will reveal the achievement goal held by sandwich students and the study strategies adopted towards achieving their goals.
This study will also show the relationship between achievement goals and study strategies.
As such, it is hoped that the result of the study might be of great help to lecturers and school counselors and students by making them aware of how study strategies can predict achievement goals.
Finally, the findings of this study might be of great importance to those that will want to further research in areas relating to self-efficacy for learning and for employment between regular and sandwich students.
The result might be a reliable source of information for intending. The study might provide empirical data for future researchers interested in this area of study.