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From “Believe” to “Achieve” AN EXAMINATION OF PERCEIVED SELF-EFFICACY AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN GRADUATE STUDENTS IN A SCHOOL OF EDUCATION BY Julie Max Freiman NEW YORK INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY APRIL 25, 2008 Dr. DOLORES BURTON
The Problem Students are struggling across the country to meet basic academic standards Although there are many external factors that contribute to this crisis, this study is concerned with the internal dynamic of how students perceive their abilities
Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between: perceived self-efficacy (a person’s belief in his/her ability to perform a particular task) and academic achievement in high school and college, as reflected upon by successful graduate students.
Background – The Literature • The theories of Albert Bandura (1993) and other scholars assert that perceived self-efficacy affects goal setting and congitive processes which, in turn, affects academic achievement. • This study focuses of three aspects of perceived self-efficacy: • Academic Self-Efficacy • Regulatory Self-Efficacy • Social & Emotional Self-Efficacy
Academic Self-Efficacy Primary focus of study • Academic self-perceptions are cyclical. Students “develop general anticipation regarding cause and affect based on their experiences” (Jinks & Morgan, 1999). • Motivation – The catalyst • “Personal goals…enhance performance attainments through analytic strategies” (Bandura, 1993).
Regulatory & Social Self-Efficacy • Self-Regulation • Deals with the perception about one’s ability to control one’s environment (agency) • Deals with a person’s ability to develop strategies to overcome obstacles and take care of one’s academic needs • Social & Emotional Self-Efficacy • Developing successful relationships with peers and classmates • Building trust with teachers, professors and administrators • Relying on familial support and guidance
The Sample & The Site Graduate students in an accredited university’s school of Education (on Long Island). Wrote to professors requesting classroom visits Asked graduate students to volunteer to take a survey Used envelopes to maintain anonymity Collected 30 responses (9 men, 21 women)
Methodology Mixed Methodology survey [adapted from Morgan-Jinks Student Efficacy Scale (MJSES, 1999)]. • 32 Lichert scale questions and 5 open-ended questions about academic experiences in high school and undergraduate college measuring: • Effort – the participant’s perception of the degree of energy put forth in academic setting • Talent – the participant’s perception of the degree of his/her aptitude in academic setting • Context – the participant’s perception of his/her academic performance in various circumstances and contexts
Quantitative Data & Analysis - Effort Results Analysis “I always got good grades when I tried hard enough” (Effort) Response with highest degree of agreement (93% for H.S., 83% for College) Reveals a strong level of correlation between perceived level of effort and achievement
Quantitative Data & Analysis - Talent Results Analysis “Sometimes I thought an assignment was easy when others thought it was hard” (Talent) ● Beliefs in ability varies and is more concentrated in the “moderate” categories (67% H.S., 73% College) ●Percentage of agreement drops from H.S.(67%) to College (60%) – not sure why
The Results – Qualitative Data Describe a time of academic success Describe a time of academic failure “Received an A+” “First college grad in family” “Top of my game” “Dean’s List…worked hard” “I was the only one…” “It clicked for me…” “Asked to present a speech” “Made sure I did the best I could” “I didn’t study hard enough” “jaded my view of education” “organic chem…terrible experience!” “Math…still confusing to this day” “Didn’t like the professor, so I punished myself” “Disappointed in myself now”
Analysis – Qualitative Data I • Among all open-ended questions, responses revealed high correlation in participants’ beliefs between degree of effort and academic outcomes • Developed further constructs of : • Recognition - External affirmation that signifies success • Obstacles – Perceived difficulty (internal or external) • Accountability – Sense of ownership or agency over degree of success
Analysis – Qualitative Data II Connection between cognitive and affective domains The “inner critic” – this sense of doubt is not necessarily connected to external factors. The “ouch” factor – punitive tone The “inner cheerleader” – positive experience begets further success and eventually a greater belief in one’s talents/abilities Family is HUGE – Many responses attribute high level of confidence to family support and influences Professors/Teachers – Strong influence (both positively and negatively)
Discussion As educators, worthwhile to consider teaching strategies designed to bolster efficacy: Modeling Credibility of message Challenge moderately Teach learning strategies and when/how to apply them Capitalize on student interest Reinforce & Encourage to try Celebrate Successes (Margolis & McCabe, 2006)
Summary Beliefs in one’s abilities has a strong influence on motivation, actions taken and ultimately degree of success achieved. Generally, participants believe that there is a strong connection between the degree of energy they exert and the degree of success achieved.
References Bandura, A. (1993). Perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning. Educational Psychologist, 28(2) 1993. Jinks, J. & Morgan, V. (1999). Children's perceived academic self-efficacy: An inventory scale. The Clearing House, 72(4), 224-230. Margolis, H & McCabe, P. (2006). Improving self- efficacy and motivation: what to do, what to say. Intervention in School and Clinic, 41(4), 218-227.
The Results - Quantitative I always got good grades when I tried hard enough (Effort) Sometimes I thought an assignment was easy when others thought it was hard (Talent)