Previous studies suggested that classroom goal structures play prominent roles in students' learning processing and outcomes; however, little is known about the association between the classroom goal structures and creativity. This study aimed to determine whether - and how - the classroom goal structures could affect creativity. Specifically, we constructed a theoretical model consisting of the classroom goal structures, self-determination motivations, and creativity; further, we tested how well this model fits the observed data, and then we analyzed the association among these three variables. Data on these three variables were collected from 913 Taiwanese junior high school students (463 girls), and all of the testing instruments were within the mathematical field. We performed structural equation modeling to analyze the data. The results showed that the theoretical model was supported by the observed data, and that the model had satisfactory overall model fit and fit of the internal structure of the model. Firstly, we found that mastery-approach goal structure shaped individuals' autonomous motivation and positively influenced their creativity. Secondly, performance-avoidance goal structure shaped individuals' controlled motivation and had no effect on their creativity. Finally, mastery-avoidance and performance-approach classroom goal structures exerted a positive effect on divergent production - a specific type of creativity - only when they shaped individuals' autonomous motivation. Thus, we propose that classroom goal structures can shape an individual's different types of self-determination motivation, thereby indirectly influence learners' creativity. Additionally, mastery-approach is the classroom goal structure that exerted the greatest effect on creativity via autonomous motivation.
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