The achievement goals and parenting of a sample of 879 grade 8 – 10 Australian students were examined to distinguish differences between low- and high-achieving students. Structural equation modelling was used to test a theoretical model linking parental warmth and strictness/supervision via mastery goals, self-efficacy, and self-handicapping to achievement. Results validated and extended previous findings concerning achievement goal theory, self-efficacy, self-handicapping and parenting style, supporting the role of self-efficacy in mediating the effects of parental style through a mastery goal orientation to achievement. Low achievement was significantly linked to neglectful parenting perceptions, higher self-handicapping and lower mastery goals and self-efficacy. An authoritative parenting style was found to predict higher achievement via enhanced mastery goals and self-efficacy while protecting against self-handicapping.