“Even the best student in class can set a mastery goal because they can always get better at doing something.”

Mastery goals also help lessen the anxiety, as you’re competing with yourself, rather than competing with others. It creates a more comfortable environment. Finally, he said that mastery goals are most effective because they lend themselves naturally to the content itself.

“When you’re engaged in the process of thinking about how to get better at something, you’re naturally thinking about that thing. And so mastery goals provide the benefit of the meta-cognition, the thinking about thinking, that we know is really integral to learning anything with high degree of success,” Nordengren said.