Comparing the achievement goal orientation of mathematics learners with and without attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

  • Erica Dorethea Spangenberg
Keywords: achievement goal orientation, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learners, mastery, mathematics, performance


Many learners with different learning challenges are accommodated in the same classroom in South Africa, which could result in poor performance in mathematics. By reinforcing or disregarding certain goals, a teacher can influence the way in which learners learn mathematics. This study compared the achievement goal orientation of Grade Nine mathematics learners in a conventional classroom. The two groups studied were learners experiencing attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learners without ADHD. A quantitative, exploratory research design was used. Twenty Grade Nine learners, of whom 10 experienced ADHD, were purposefully selected from one school in Ekurhuleni-East, South Africa. Data was collected with an existing questionnaire. The results revealed that while learners without ADHD compare themselves against their peers’ behavioural and cognitive engagement, as well as the level of their mastery goal orientation, learners with ADHD rely more on their personal performance-avoidance goal orientation and the goal orientation of their parents. Differences between the achievement goal orientation of mathematics learners with or without ADHD could assist teachers in recognising methods to direct learners’ goals for better engagement with and improved results in mathematics, which could support learners to develop to their full potential in the subject.

Keywords: achievement goal orientation; attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); learners; mastery; mathematics; performance


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2076-3433
print ISSN: 0256-0100