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classroom community latent growth curve model mastery goal orientation motivation person environment fit

The Decline in Mastery Goal Orientation and Person-Environment Fit and the Preventive Effect of Classroom Community: Examining Transitions Using Latent Growth Curve Modelling

Lukas Ramseier , Markus P. Neuenschwander

Students’ mastery goal orientation tends to decline over the course of compulsory school, especially after the transition to lower secondary sch.

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Students’ mastery goal orientation tends to decline over the course of compulsory school, especially after the transition to lower secondary school. According to stage-environment fit theory, secondary school is less accommodating to students' needs, interests, and abilities than primary school. In consequence, the perceived person-environment fit declines as well. It is assumed that a strong sense of classroom community in primary school can counteract a potential decline in both of these important individual aspects. Using data from the Swiss longitudinal research project WiSel (“Wirkungen der Selektion”; “Effects of Tracking”), we conducted a latent growth curve model (LGCM) to examine the correlation between the development of students' mastery goal orientation and the development of their person-environment fit during the transition from primary school to lower secondary school. Perceived classroom community was assumed to benefit from these developments. The results show that both mastery goal orientation and person-environment fit decrease during the transition to lower secondary school. A strong sense of classroom community in fifth grade leads to a smaller decline in both constructs. Implications for educational practice are discussed.

Keywords: Classroom community, latent growth curve model, mastery goal orientation, motivation, person-environment fit.

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