Chapter 8. A Closer Look at College Students: Self-Efficacy and Goal Orientation
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A CLOSER LOOK AT COLLEGE STUDENTS
Self-Efficacy and Goal Orientation
Peggy (Pei-Hsuan) Hsieh, Jeremy R. Sullivan, Norma S. Guerra
Despite increases in undergraduate college student enrollment, low academic achievement, and high attrition rates persist for many students (Devonport & Lane, 2006; Lloyd, Tienda, & Zajacova, 2001; Tinto, 1994). There are many reasons that students drop out of college, some of which include unrealistic expectations about college, financial difficulties, stress, and lack of study strategies (Allen, 1999; Chemers, Hu, & Garcia, 2001; Lee, Kang, & Yum, 2005; Tinto, 1987). College students who are at risk of dropping out tend to have difficulties adjusting to college as indicated by low academic achievement (Gillock & Reyes, 1999; Murtaugh, Burns, & Schuster, 1999). Given that student retention is now one of the leading challenges faced by colleges and universities, research seeking to understand students’ reasons for attrition is of critical importance.
Of the many factors that may influence students’ retention and underachievement, this study examined students’ motivation towards learning, which has been found to be a strong predictor of students’ achievement (Ames & Ames, 1984; Caraway, Tucker, Reinke, & Hall, 2003; Dweck, 1986; Elliot, 1999; Schunk, 1989). Motivation is a process in which a goal-directed activity is initiated and sustained (Pintrich & Schunk, 2002), and it is related to (and can be inferred from) behaviors such as students’ choice of tasks, initiation, persistence, commitment, and effort investment (Allen, 1999; Maehr...
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