ERIC Number: ED247035
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984
Reference Count: 0
Children's Social Comparison and Goal Setting in Achievement Contexts.
Schunk, Dale H.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the theories and research concerning social comparison and goal setting processes in education and to discuss implications for educational practice and future research. Social comparison and goal setting are important contextual influences on children's task motivation, self-evaluations of capability, and skillful performance in achievement settings. Both processes provide a performance standard against which children can compare their present performance level. Young children's social comparisons with peers focus on practical concerns, such as similarities and differences, equitable shares of rewards, and securing correct answers. The effects of goals depend upon specificity, proximity, and difficulty level. Proximal goals are especially influential with young children, but will not promote performance if there is no goal commitment. In general, the effects of both processes on motivation, self-evaluation, and skillful performance in achievement settings depends on children's developmental level as well as on process characteristics. Thus, it is important that individuals working with young children view these processes developmentally. Future research should explore the operation of the processes in classrooms to determine how they can be systematically employed to enhance children's task mastery and sense of personal competence. (RH)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Urbana, IL.
Identifiers: Goal Setting; Proximal Goal; Social Comparison
Note: To be published as a chapter in "Current Topics in Early Childhood Education," Volume VI, 1985 (est.), Ablex Publishing Corporation, Norwood, NJ., Lilian G. Katz, Editor.