Corwin Senko,   
Assistant Professor
Psychology Department
SUNY New Paltz

Corwin Senko
Associate Professor, Psychology Department, SUNY New Paltz


Research Interests

Why do some students expend enormous effort while others coast? Why do some enjoy their classes while others remain bored? Why do some seek challenge while others avoid it? Our lab explores these and related motivational questions, tracing the answers to the achievement goals students pursue -- for example, goals to learn or improve, or to appear smart, or to outperform classmates, or to serve the community, or to avoid working hard. We find that those different goals guide students' educational experience in different ways. For example, they shape students'  level of interest in the material, the study strategies they adopt, how well they learn the material and perform in the class, and their evaluations of teacher effectiveness. 

We are also beginning to explore motivational differences between distinct groups of college students, such as first-generation college students vs. continuing-generation college students, so that we can pinpoint ways to reduce any achievement and school retention gaps between them. 

Publications (* indicates Masters or undergraduate student co-author)

  • Senko, C., & Dawson, B.* (2017). Performance-approach goal effects depend on how they are defined: Meta-analytic evidence from multiple outcomes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109, 574-598. [abstract]
  • Senko, C., & Tropiano, K. L.* (2016). Comparing three models of achievement goals: Goal orientations, goal standards, and goal complexes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 108, 1178-1192. [abstract]
  • Senko, C. (2016). Achievement goal theory: A story of early promises, eventual discords, and future possibilties. In K. Wentzel & D. Miele (Eds.), Handbook of Motivation at School, Vol. 2.
  • Senko, C., & Freund, A. M. (2015). Are mastery-avoidance goals always detrimental? An adult development perspective. Motivation and Emotion, 39, 477-488. [abstract]
  • Senko, C., & Hulleman, C. S. (2013). The role of goal attainment expectancies in achievement goal pursuit. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105, 504-521. [abstract]
  • Senko, C., Hama, H.*, & Belmonte, K.* (2013). Achievement goals, study strategies, and achievement. A test of the "learning agenda" framework. Learning and Individual Differences, 24, 1-10. [abstract]   
  • Senko, C., Durik, A. M., Patel, L., Lovejoy, C. M., & Valentiner, D. (2013). Performance-approach goal effects on achievement under low versus high challenge conditions. Learning & Instruction, 23, 60-68. [abstract]
  • Senko, C., Belmonte, K.*, & Yakhkind, A.* (2012). How students' achievement goals shape their beliefs about effective teaching: A "Build-A-Professor" study. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 420-435. [abstract]
  • Senko, C., Hulleman, C. S., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2011). Achievement goal theory at the crossroads: Old controversies, current challenges, and new directions. Educational Psychologist, 46, 26-47. [abstract]
  • Hulleman, C. S., & Senko, C. (2010).Up around the bend: Forecasts for achievement goal theory and research in 2020. In Urdan & Karabenick (Eds.), Advances in Motivation and Achievement, (Vol. 16). United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing, LTD. [abstract]
  • Senko, C. & Fyffe, V.* (2010). An evolutionary perspective on effective vs. ineffective pick-up lines. Journal of Social Psychology150, 648-667. [abstract] 
  • Senko, C. & Miles, K. M.* (2008). Pursuing their own learning agenda: How mastery-oriented students jeopardize their exam performance. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 33, 561-583[abstract]
  • Senko, C., Durik, A. M., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2008).  Historical perspectives and new directions in achievement goal theory: Understanding the effects of mastery and performance-approach goals. In J. Y Shah & W. Gardner (Eds.), Handbook of Motivational Science. New York: Guilford. [abstract]
  • Senko, C., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2005).  Regulation of achievement goals: The role of competence feedback.  Journal of Educational Psychology, 97, 320-336. [abstract
  • Senko, C., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2005). Achievement goals, task performance, and interest: Why perceived goal difficulty matters. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 1739-1753. [abstract]
  • Senko, C., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2002).  Performance goals: The moderating role of context, achievement orientation, and feedback.  Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 603-610. [abstract]

Most of these publications are also available at my ResearchGate site.