Self-efficacy and Academic Performance
Self-efficacy beliefs have been found to be an effective predictor of key indices of academic motivation as choice of activities, level of effort, persistence, and emotional reactions, of self-regulation of learning, such as the self-regulatory processes of goal setting, self-monitoring, selfevaluation, and strategy use, and of academic achievement (Klassen, 2007; Zimmerman, 2000b).
In terms of choice of activities, students with high level of self-efficacy undertake more challenging tasks than inefficacious students. Bandura and Schunk (1981) found students’ self-efficacy beliefs on mathematics predicted their choice of engaging in subtraction problems rather than in a different type of task. Self-efficacy has also been found to be highly correlated with students’ rated intrinsic interest in a writing revision task (Zimmerman & Kitsantas, 1999).
Self-efficacy beliefs affect individuals’ effort in terms of rate of performance and expenditure of energy. For instance, Salomon (1984) found that self-efficacy is positively related to self-rated mental effort and achievement in learning from difficult text material. Schunk and colleagues have found that self-efficacy correlates positively with students’ rate of solution of arithmetic problems (Schunk & Hanson, 1985; Schunk, Hanson, & Cox, 1987). With regard to the effects of self-efficacy beliefs on persistence, Schunk (1981) found that self-efficacy influences students’ skill acquisition both directly and indirectly by increasing their persistence. Multon, Brown, and Lent (1991) analyzed 68 students on self-efficacy and outcomes. Their findings supported the assertion that students’ self-efficacy enhanced their efforts and persistence in academic activities. Zhang and Zhang (2003) found that there was a significant positive relation between self-efficacy and students’ persistence at learning task.
Students’ beliefs about their efficacy to manage academic tasks can influence them emotionally by decreasing their stress, anxiety, and depression (Bandura, 1997). Pajares and Kranzler (1995) examined the relations between self-efficacy and anxiety regarding mathematics. The results showed that only self-efficacy was predictive of mathematics performance when compared in a joint-path analysis. Siegel, Galassi, and Ware (1985) found that self-efficacy beliefs are more predictive of math performance than math anxiety.
In addition to the influence of self-efficacy beliefs on academic motivation, self-efficacy beliefs also influence the self-regulatory processes such as goal setting, self-monitoring, self-evaluation, and strategy use (Zimmerman, 2000b). Zimmerman, Bandura, and Martinez-Pons (1992) found that students with a higher sense of self-efficacy embraced goals that are more challenging. Bouffard-Bouchard, Parent, and Larivee (1991) studied the effects of self-efficacy beliefs on students’ self-monitoring. They found that efficacious students were better at monitoring their working time, more persistent, and better at solving conceptual problems than inefficacious students of equal ability. Self-efficacy has also been found to affect self-evaluation. Zimmerman and Bandura (1994) found that selfefficacy beliefs on writing significantly predicted students’ personal standards for the quality of writing considered self-satisfying as well as their goal setting and writing proficiency. Similarly, efficacy beliefs have been found to significantly influence learner’s use of learning strategies. For instance, Pintrich and DeGroot (1990) found that junior high school students with high self-efficacy were more likely to use various cognitive and self-regulatory or metacognitive learning strategies. Other studies found the same pattern for the relations between self-efficacy and learning strategies (Pintrich, 1999b; Wolters & Pintrich, 1998; Wolters, Yu, & Pintrich, 1996; Hu & Xu, 2002; Zhang & Zhang, 2003). Self-efficacy has also been found to be positively related to motivational regulation. Wolters and Rosenthal (2000) found that self-efficacy was positively related to motivational regulation strategies.
Finally, studies have found a strong relationship between academic selfefficacy and academic achievement among students. Multon et al. (1991) found that self-efficacy accounted for 14 % of the variance in students’ academic performance across a variety of student samples, experimental designs, and criterion measures. Hwang and Vrongistinos (2002) found a significant difference in self-efficacy between high and low achievers. High achievers were more likely to believe that they would do well in the class because of their ability. Other researchers (e.g., Hu & Xu, 2002; Komarraju & Nadler, 2013; Wang, Xin, & Li, 1999; Zhang & Zhang, 2003) also found that self-efficacy beliefs influenced students’ academic achievement, suggesting the higher students’ self-efficacy, the better their academic performance.