The 3 × 2 Achievement Goals in the Education, Sport, and Occupation Literatures: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis


Achievement goal theory has been a dominant motivation framework since the 1980s. The 3 × 2 achievement goal framework emerged in the literature in 2011. We aimed to conduct a systematic review with meta-analysis following the PRISMA guidelines of the 3 × 2 achievement goal research in education, sport, and occupation settings. We retrieved articles from searching EBSCOhost and Google Scholar platforms. Eligible articles contained the 3 × 2 achievement goal in education, sport, or occupation, were published in a peer-reviewed journal, and provided mean data or correlate data. We tested hypotheses concerned with (1) the overall pattern of achievement goal endorsement, (2) achievement goal differences by domain (education, sport) and compulsory nature of the domains or sub-domains, and (3) achievement goal relationships with correlates (e.g., learning strategies, motivations, performance). After screening, 56 articles met all inclusion criteria, providing 58 samples across education (n = 44), sport (n = 10), and occupation (n = 4) settings with 35,031 unique participants from 15 countries. Participants endorsed the task- and self-approach goals more than the counterpart avoidance goals, other-avoidance goals more than other-approach goals, and the intercorrelations and reliability coefficients were acceptable. Minimal impact results from examining within and across study bias statistics. Of importance, the domain (i.e., education, sport) and the compulsory nature of the domain or sub-domains (i.e., primary-secondary education, sport) moderated goal endorsement (group mixed-effects p < 0.05, g values medium to very large). These groupings also moderated the other goal differences. Concerning our correlates analyses, most meta-analyzed correlations among the achievement goals and correlates were small in meaningfulness with the largest correlations (0.30–0.42) between the approach goals merged and the task- and self-approach goals and facilitative learning strategies and desired motivations. In conclusion, the 3 × 2 achievement goals literature is diverse. Furthering the study and application of this model requires overcoming inherent limitations (i.e., consistent response scale sets), teasing out differences between the task- and self-goals, measuring performance outcomes, and cross-cultural collaborations.


© 2023 by the authors. cc-by


approach goals, avoidance goals, motivation, other goals, quantitative review, self-goals, task goals


Lochbaum, M., Sisneros, C., & Kazak, Z.. 2023. The 3 × 2 Achievement Goals in the Education, Sport, and Occupation Literatures: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. European Journal of Investigation in Health, Psychology and Education, 13(7).