A Perspective on Self-Efficacy Beliefs for Academic Achievement

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A Perspective on Self-Efficacy Beliefs for Academic Achievement

Introduction

The day-to-day endeavors of living are mostly directed by underlying self-systems that

strengthen and guide our aspirations and motivation for working towards accomplishing goals
and seeking achievements. The self-systems guide our pursuits and determine our performance.
In this regard, raising academic performance of students has been a vital challenge. All efforts
need to be directed towards this challenge by helping students not only through skill acquisition
but also by fostering the self-systems which help them to be more persuasive in their efforts for
academic achievement. An understanding of self-systems with particular reference to self-

efficacy proves to be a potent factor because “these self-systems house one’s cognitive and
affective structures and include the abilities to symbolize, learn from others, plan alternative strategies, regulate one’s own behavior, and engage in self-reflection” (Bandura,1977). Self-
efficacy has a relatively brief history that began with Bandura’s (1977) publication of “Self-
Efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change”. Self-efficacy refers “to subjective judgments of one’s capabilities to organize and execute courses of action to attain designated goals” (Bandura, 1977 and 1997). Self-efficacy beliefs can therefore be extensively applied and potentially used in the field of educational research, particularly in the area of academic
motivation and achievement (Pintrich and Schunk, 1995).

The Role of Self-efficacy Beliefs

Self-efficacy beliefs center around what a person can do rather than personal judgments about
one’s physical or personality attributes. The level of self-efficacy refers to its dependence on

difficulty level of a particular task; generality of self-efficacy beliefs refers to the transferability of one’s efficacy judgments across different tasks or activities such as different academic
subjects; and strength of efficacy judgments pertains to the certainty with which one can perform a specific task (Zimmerman, 1995). When students begin to doubt their capabilities, it becomes detrimental as they slacken their efforts and give up quickly in the face of difficulties, have low aspirations and are most likely to encounter stress. They view insufficient performance as
personal deficiencies and do not concentrate on how to perform successfully.

Self-efficacy beliefs influence not only motivation levels but also offer resilience to adversity
and avert vulnerability to stress and depression. The stress and anxiety levels required to
accomplish a task are also influenced by efficacy beliefs. R.............


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