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The Impact of Self-Efficacy on Student's Academic Performance

Research paper, APA, Bachelor
13 page, 9 sources

1.0 Introduction

Self-efficacy is defined in simple terms as the belief in one’s self-abilities to achieve in a particular action or set goals. Therefore, self-efficacy is the perception that one is capable of successfully meeting his or her own expectations with regard to set goals and objectives. Self-efficacy enhances motivation of individuals to achieve set goals that make the individual sustain the drive towards achievement (Doug, 2010). Different individuals draw their motivation to perform certain tasks and responsibilities based on their abilities that give them the belief in themselves. Fundamentally, self-belief is what provides the motivation for individuals to effectively and efficiently succeed in completing a task or in meeting the goals that they set to achieve (Costello & Stone, 2012).

This research report investigates the self-efficacy studies advanced in three main articles. The three selected articles comprise of research conducted on self-efficacy pertaining to self-efficacy of students with regard to their academic performance. One of the articles is by Chemers et al. (2001), which delves into a review of academic self-efficacy’s influence on first-year college students’ performance and adjustment. The second article discussed incorporates research conducted by Bjornebekk et al. (2013), on achievement motives, achievement goals, self-efficacy, and academic achievement at multiple stages of education. Finally, the paper also reviews the literature advanced by Vuong et al. (2010), which studied the effects of self-efficacy in respect to the degree of academic success of first-generation college sophomore students.

The first part of the discussion presents justification for the research and the research objectives as part of the introduction to the report. Subsequently, the paper analyzes research methods that are utilized in the collection of data for the report. The research methods section is followed by a literature review section that delves into the findings of the three articles in question. In addition, the literature review relates the findings of the studies under scrutiny with other literature in support or otherwise with respect to findings. Eventually, the report presents conclusive remarks followed by appropriate recommendations for conducting future studies on the same research topic.

1.1 Research Aims and Objectives

The prime objective and aim of the research is to delve into a detailed and comprehensive review of the literature on the topic self-efficacy in Academics. To this end, the research revolves around three main articles that have been advanced on the topic. The articles detail research conducted on academic spheres with regard to motivation towards academic excellence through self-efficacy. Primarily, the study aims to develop findings that can assist educators in enhancing self-belief among student populations in their capacity and capability to achieve better results in their education. Henceforth, the specific objectives of the research report are as follows;

1.2 Specific Objectives

To investigate self-efficacy select literature detailing research on academic performance of students.

To examine the research findings of the select literature with respect to other literatures’ findings on the same topic.

To develop recommendations for educators in developing and adopting strategies to enhance self-efficacy of students, hence, improve academic outcomes.

1.3 Justification of the Study

The research report is useful in developing insight into pertinent concerns with respect to the development of education. In this regard, the research report aims at divulging the main concerns of students when it comes to their academic performance. Moreover, the result of the report can be utilized in painting a picture that can be useful in identifying factors that are behind motivation of students to perform. In the same respect, the report sheds light into the shortcomings of the education system and the instructors in providing adequate support for student’s self-efficacy a factor that is crucial in improving students’ academic performance. More importantly, the results realized from the study can prove effective in charting the way forward with respect to what needs to be done in order to improve performance of students. To this end, the recommendations developed from the study can be utilized in enhancing self-efficacy among students in order to improve their performance.

2.0 Research Methods

This research report is a literature review into pertinent concerns with respect to the articles earlier mentioned in the introduction section of the report. Hence, the research will adopt secondary sources of information as a source of data used in the compilation of the report. The main advantage of employing secondary sources in the compilation of the research lies in the fact that the research can comprise a wider scope. In addition, information can be collected from a multiplicity of sources without relying on a single source. To this end, secondary data used in the compilation of the report promises to be comprehensive in the analysis of the research topic. Moreover, the research can incorporate variables that are characteristics of information from different sources compiled from different experimental conditions. As such the research report serves to be comprehensive in its analysis of all the possible sides of the phenomenon. Further, use of secondary sources in the collection of information for the report serves to ensure that the findings of different researchers covered are summarized to provide a holistic picture of the analysis of the report (Virginia Tech, 2014).

3.0 Literature Review

This section of the paper delves into the analysis of the literatures advanced on self-efficacy of student with respect to three studies that conducted on students’ performance levels with respect to efficacy. Further, the literature review compares the results of each of the studies presented in line with other literature advanced on the topic of self-efficacy. Primarily, the literature review section sets the stage for the development of an analysis into the factors that serve to influence students’ efficacy in themselves. In relations to the student’s self-efficacy, the report also attempts to deliver on evaluating the role of students’ self-efficacy in improving the performance of students.

3.1 Bjornebekk, Diseth and Ulriksen’ Research

The three scholars conducted a study to investigate the achievement motives, self-efficacy, achievement goals, and academic achievement at multiple stages of education. The primary intention of the researchers was to develop an analysis into the understanding of the factors behind the combined effects of achievement motives, self-efficacy, and achievement goals in enhancing student’s performance. Their investigation put into consideration different attributes in terms of contributions made by the three variables on the students' performance over a period extending four years. In this regard, the evaluation of the students’ performance was measured at every stage of the students’ academic life in a bachelor’s degree course. The longitudinal study served to enhance inquiry into the role of self-efficacy, achievement motives, and achievement goals in enhancing the performance of science course based students (Bjornebekk, Diseth, & Ulriksen, 2013).

The results of the study were in agreement with the hypothesis of the researchers to the fact that projections on improved performances’ direct correlation to the level of academic achievement. In this regard, science students were found to have motivation based on the need to avoid failure and repercussions related to failure. Hence, the intention of the research to find out the level of contribution that self-efficacy makes in improving performance of the students was to the negative. In other words, the research findings indicated that the self-efficacy was negatively related to fears of failure in examinations. To this end, science students who feared failing in exams found it difficult to cope with regard to finding confidence in themselves to achieve better results. The study also found that science students who took part in the research were fond of drawing motivation towards improved performance from academic achievement. Hence, the promise of attaining a degree is what drives the motivation of science students’ towards excellence in achievement (Bjornebekk, Diseth, & Ulriksen, 2013).

Essentially, the research conducted by Bjornebekk et al. (2010), did not find any positive correlation to self-efficacy as a direct implication of performance enhancement with respect to fears of failure in exams amongst science students. On the contrary, the research found that in actual sense it is fear that drives motivation of individuals to perform by avoiding failure. Moreover, as individuals graduated from one level to the next the closer they got to academic achievement. It is the promise of academic achievement at the end of the degree course that was found to develop motivation among students to better their performance in academics (Bjornebekk, Diseth, & Ulriksen, 2013). Based on the findings of the study by the scholars it was apparent that as individual students graduated from one level to the next the more their goals became focused towards academic achievement. Similar sentiments are advanced by Bong, Cho, Ahn and Kim (2012), who conducted a similar study to investigate the trend between students in elementary school and those in middle school.

Consequently, students in elementary school were subdued by those in middle school in terms of their level of confidence in mathematics subjects was higher among middle school students as compared to students at elementary level (Bong, Cho, Ahn, & Kim, 2012). Primarily, the common element between Bjornebekk’s et al. (2010) study and Bong’s et al. (2012) study is that both advances that level of experience in students inspires confidence. In this regard, the higher the level of education a student is the higher their level of confidence as self-belief that they can achieve better performance results and vice versa. In respect to the assumption that higher level students have higher levels of confidence self-efficacy is more among older students in higher levels of learning than among younger students in lover levels of learning.

3.2 Vuong, Welty and Tracy’s Research

Vuong, Brown-Welty, and Tracz (2010) conducted a study to investigate the effects that self-efficacy had on academic performance improvement of first-generation college sophomore students. To this end, the research employed a comparison review basis on which the performance of first-generation college students was compared to the performance of subsequent sophomore college students. The results of the study were such that sophomore students in subsequent generations performed better than counterparts comprising the first-generation of sophomore college students.

The research that was conducted in a total of five colleges in California Stare used self-efficacy modules to measure the participants’ self-efficacy levels. In this regard, the level of success that is achievable by individuals was directly correlated with an individual’s GPA and persistence ratings. The researcher’s definition of first-generation sophomore college students refers to those students who were first ever to attain college education in their families’ heritage. To this end, subsequent generation students refer to those who have at least one parent who attained a college education (Vuong, Brown-Welty, & Tracz, 2010).

Students who had a history of generations of parents who had attended college showed better results in their performance as opposed to those who were first-generation college students. Hence, the more the generations a student came after, the higher the chances that such a student would outperform a first-generation student who joined the same college (Vuong, Brown-Welty, & Tracz, 2010). Gadbois (2011) relates the findings that Vuong et al. (2010) developed in regards to poor performance of first-time or first-generation sophomore college students to academic self-handicapping.

To that end, academic self-handicapping (ASH) is taken to mean the opposite of academic self-efficacy that causes disbelief in oneself rather that belief in oneself that is an attribute of self-efficacy. In essence, the lack of self-belief among first-generation college sophomores causes them to belittle their skills and capabilities in regards to academic achievement. Therefore, poor performance is directly attributable to a lack of commitment in driving one's belief in themselves that they can achieve good results in their academic performance (Gadbois & Sturgeon, 2011).

Primarily, the research conducted by Vuong et al. (2010) provides crucial evidence to the fact that self-efficacy is more among students who have a parent that have achieved academic carders that they are at. Therefore, students who are subsequent generations to parents and grandparents who have had the privilege of acquiring college education find it easier to believe in themselves (self-efficacy) as compared to First Generation Sophomore College students. Sentiments by Gabois (2011) confirm that self-inflicted barriers to achieving better academic performance among first-generation students is directly correlated to their lack of self-belief (efficacy) that they can achieve good academic results.

3.3 Chemers, Hu, and Garcia’s Research

The research conducted by Chemers et al. (2001) focused on the academic self-efficacy of first-year College students with respect to their academic performance. Primarily, the research was focused on divulging whether factors related to adjusting to the college environment from a high school background had an influence on the performance of the first-year students. Among variable factors that were examined were issues such as stress, health, and commitment to remain in school. Other factors that were looked into as part of the hypothesis of the research were issues regarding high school mean grade attained. To this end, the concerns of the researchers were to predict whether students who scored higher mean grades in high school were more optimistic towards academic self-efficacy and vice versa. The study was meant to evaluate the first-year students’ perceptions with respect to their expectations and perceived coping abilities with campus life.

The researchers combined the measurements of the various variables mentioned in the preceding paragraph to give a comprehensive overhaul on the students’ academic self-efficacy. Further, the results of the study were also tailored to mirror the students’ perception in respect to their commitment to remaining in school and persistence to adjust to the college environment. In the end, the hypotheses of the researchers proved not to stray far off from the results realized from the research (Chemers, Hu, & Garcia, 2001).

In respect to that, the results of the research showed that the self-efficacy plays a fundamental role in enhancing first year’s optimism for success and adjustment into college life. The direct implications of self-efficacy among first-year students was such that students’ perceptions of their capabilities in coping with college life depended on their level of efficacy. Equally, self-efficacy among first-year college students was found to be a central factor in determining whether such students can perform better or not in their academics. Moreover, students who had higher high school mean scores also had higher levels of self-efficacy in comparison to others who had low high school mean scores. Similarly, students with higher high school mean scores were more optimistic about their academic performance as freshmen when compared to those who scored lower high schools means. In that regard, the study found that first-year students’ academic performance was as a result of direct implications of their efficacy levels (Chemers, Hu, & Garcia, 2001).

Similar research was conducted on elementary school students to investigate the importance of information in self-efficacy of students towards academic performance. The investigation aimed to divulge the relevance of informational factors such as active performance, vicarious experiences, emotional and verbal persuasion, and physiological states that comprise information sources. In this regard, the more informed a student was for instance with respect to verbal persuasion on the need to pass mathematics; the more the likelihood that such an individual developed enough self-efficacy to achieve excellence in performance in mathematics subject (Phan, 2012).

Fundamentally, the research conducted by Chemers et al. (2001), contends that self-efficacy is directly correlated with academic performance of students given that it provides students with the necessary drive to perfect their performance. Moreover, it is necessary to consider that contribution of contributing factors that limit or enhance self-efficacy that in this case relates to students mean high school scores, stress, and health etc. Such factors are central drivers to individual student’s motivation towards the achievement of set goals with respect to improving their academic performance.

4.0 Conclusion and Recommendations

4.1 Conclusion

The literatures reviewed herein present impeccable results with respect to the variances in the results obtained in the three research investigations analyzed. In this regard, some of the results developed seem to show similarities while other results show differences between the researchers featured in the literatures reviewed. Some of the similarities can be drawn between Chemers et al. (2001) and Vuong et al. (2010), with respect to enhancement of students’ motivation through self-efficacy. Motivation in this regard mainly concerns academic achievement. Therefore, the researchers contend that the self-efficacy among students is as a direct result of the need to achieve excellent academic performance. To that end, the research report finds that literatures reviewed provide evidence to the fact that academic performance is improved when students are self-motivated towards achieving better academic performance. Hence, in respect to self-motivation refers to the need to believe in one’s ability effectively and efficiently to meet the requirements for excellence in academic performance. Therefore, self-efficacy to the effect that it determines the motivation to improve academic performance of students.

However, the difference between ideas presented in Chemers et al. (2001) and by Vuong et al. (2010) vary from ideas developed by Bjornebekk et al. (2013), on the premise that Bjornebekk and colleagues disagree that self-efficacy of students results in better academic performance. Based on the results of the Bjornebekk et al. (2013), study in which they found that self-efficacy of students had very little to no effect on the motivation of individual students to improve their academic performance. Instead, the research finds that the motivation for students’ performance is as a result of fears regarding consequences of failure. Thus, the students are motivated to improve their performance in academics not because they believe in their skills and capabilities. But rather because they are motivated by either the rewards that come with academic achievement or with the need to avoid repercussions that result from failure.

More importantly, the gist of the research conducted by Bjornekk (2013), found that the level of experience that a student has in studying, was directly correlated with the level of self-efficacy towards academic performance. Hence, students as higher levels of study showed more exuberance in terms of the self-efficacy in their ability to perform better academically than students at lower carders in various education levels. Primarily, the literatures reviewed herein provide crucial evidence that aim to develop inquiry into the role of self-efficacy in enhancing academic performance among students. Much of the research presented in support of the information detailed in the three main literatures also analyzed present evidence in agreement with the researchers’ ideologies. In this regard, the research report has presented a comprehensive analysis of fundamental concerns in line with the topic under study. To that end, the research report finds that the topic on self-efficacy in relation to student’s academic performance still remains unexplored in various aspects. Hence, the report presents several recommendations for future studies on the topic in a subsequent section.

4.2 Recommendations

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As mentioned in the preceding section there remains a lot to be discovered with respect to the topic on self-efficacy particularly in regards to students’ performance in academics. Here are a few areas of further research that future studies should focus on to expound on the analysis of the studies already advanced on the research topic.

Foremost, students’ motivation to study cannot wholly be subjected to self-efficacy given the fact that a host of many other factors come into play to develop motivation among students to better academic performance. In this regard, it is crucial that more attention is directed towards understanding the extent to which self-efficacy is a contributor to student’s motivation to better performance. To this end, based on the results yielded from the literatures reviewed future studies should compare a maximum of two variables side by side. In that respect, one of the variables must be self-efficacy that is measured and compared to another such as family background, financial capability or knowledge of various subjects etcetera. Hence, the study can better compare the percentage contribution of self-efficacy to the development of motivation towards academic excellence among students.

Secondly, future research should be focused on divulging the role of the instructor in positively contributing to the development of self-efficacy among students. To this end, the research can be able to draw a relationship between teacher based support systems and improved academic performance of students. Therefore, the mandate of the teacher in enhancing the students’ belief in themselves that they can perform well in particular subjects forms the analogy that the study should be based. More importantly, the study when conducted will provide impeccable knowledge to instructors on means and ways to improve academic performance of their students by enhancing students’ self-efficacy.

Finally, future research must as well consider focusing on the role of parents and in particular, the duty that parents are tasked with in raising children. To this end, the level of self-efficacy of children raised by different categories of parents can be analyzed. For instance, single parent families and families with both parents can take part in the research. Thereafter, the research can compare the findings on self-efficacy levels of children raised by single parents in comparison to those raised by both parents. More importantly, the research can develop an inquiry into the effect that the difference in self-efficacy between the different sets of children can present for their academic performance. Such research can prove useful in shedding light on the role of parenting in enhancing students’ self-efficacy in academic performance.


  1. Bjornebekk, G., Diseth, A., & Ulriksen, R. (2013). Achievement Motives, Self-Efificacy, Achievement Goals, and Academic Achievement at Multiple Stages of Education: A Longitudinal Analysis. Psychological reports: Human Resources & Marketing, 3, 771-787.
  2. Bong, M., Cho, C., Ahn, H. S., & Kim, H. J. (2012). Comparison of Self-Beliefs for Predicting Student Motivation and Achievement. The Journal of Educational Research, 105, 336-352.
  3. Chemers, M. M., Hu, L.-t., & Garcia, B. F. (2001). Academic Self-Efficacy and First-Year College Student Performance and Adjustment. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93(1), 55-64.
  4. Costello, C. A., & Stone, S. L. (2012). Positive Psychology and Self-Efficacy: Potential Benefits for College Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Learning Disabilities. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 25(2), 119-129.
  5. Doug, J. (2010). How Personal Trainners Can Use Self-Efficacy Theory to Enhance Excercise Behavior in Begining Exercisers. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 32(3), 67-71.
  6. Gadbois, S. A., & Sturgeon, R. D. (2011). Academic Self-Handicapping: Relaionships with Learning Specific and General Self-Perceptions and Academic Performance over Time. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 81, 207-222.
  7. Phan, H. P. (2012). Relations Between Information Sources, Self-Efficacy and Academic Achievement: A Developmental Approach. Educational Psychology, 32(1), 81-105.
  8. Virginia Tech. (2014). Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources. Retrieved 12 8, 2014, from Virgini a Tech Invent the Future University Libraries:
  9. Vuong, M., Brown-Welty, S., & Tracz, S. (2010). The Effects of Self-Efficacy on Academic Success of First-Generation College Sophomore Students. Journal of College Students Development, 51(1), 50-64.
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