Perseverance is vital for the process of learning mathematics with understanding. To do so, students must wrestle with obstacles and amend their problem-solving plan when necessary. I collected qualitative data to investigate the nature of perseverance for 11 ninth-grade algebra students working on a challenging task for which they affirmed interest. Employing analytical frameworks of achievement goal perceptions and subsequent perseverant actions, the findings inform three distinct profiles of in-the-moment perseverance states. These profiles suggest that perseverant actions are not always aligned with students’ goals of meaning-making. Although students may report being motivated by building conceptual understanding, they may not fully grasp what it means to achieve such mastery goals. I provide suggestions for teachers to further encourage the development of more perseverant learners.
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