Scholarly article on topic 'Self-regulation based Learning Strategies and Self-efficacy Perceptions as Predictors of Male and Female Students’ Mathematics Achievement'

Self-regulation based Learning Strategies and Self-efficacy Perceptions as Predictors of Male and Female Students’ Mathematics Achievement Academic research paper on "Psychology"

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Abstract of research paper on Psychology, author of scientific article — Sertel Altun, Münire Erden

Abstract This study aimed to determine whether mathematics achievement can be explained in terms of self regulation based learning strategies (metacognitive self regulation, regulation of time and study environment, effort management, help seeking) and self efficacy perceptions, and whether these differ between the two genders. The sample consisted of 473 (144 girls and 329 boys) freshmen at Yıldız Technical University who were attending the course “Mathematics I”. “Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire” developed by Pintrich et al. and students’ examination results were used to collect data for the correlational study. The findings indicated that metacognitive self-regulation, regulation of time and study environment, help seeking, and self-efficacy perceptions were significant factors in explaining mathematics achievement while effort regulation was not. Further, it was concluded that there was a difference between the two genders as to the use and benefits of these strategies.

Academic research paper on topic "Self-regulation based Learning Strategies and Self-efficacy Perceptions as Predictors of Male and Female Students’ Mathematics Achievement"

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Social and Behavioral Sciences

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 106 (2013) 2354 - 2364

4th International Conference on New Horizons in Education

Self-regulation based learning strategies and self-efficacy perceptions as predictors of male and female students' mathematics achievement

Sertel Altuna*, Münire Erdenb,

aYildiz Technical University, Faculty of Education "IstanbulTurkey b Yildiz Technical University, Faculty of Education "IstanbulTurkey

Abstract

This study aimed to determine whether mathematics achievement can be explained in terms of self regulation based learning strategies (metacognitive self regulation, regulation of time and study environment, effort management, help seeking) and self efficacy perceptions, and whether these differ between the two genders. The sample consisted of 473 (144 girls and 329 boys) freshmen at Yildiz Technical University who were attending the course "Mathematics I". "Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire" developed by Pintrich et al. and students' examination results were used to collect data for the correlational study. The findings indicated that metacognitive self-regulation, regulation of time and study environment, help seeking, and self-efficacy perceptions were significant factors in explaining mathematics achievement while effort regulation was not. Further, it was concluded that there was a difference between the two genders as to the use and benefits of these strategies.

©2013TheAuthors.PublishedbyElsevierLtd.

Selectionandpeer-reviewunderresponsibilityofTheAssociationof Science,EducationandTechnology-TASET,Sakarya Universitesi, Turkey.

Keywords: Self regulation based learning strategies, self efficacy perception, gender and mathematics achievement.

1. Introduction

The need for regulating one's own learning has emerged due to the value placed on education and it has underlined self-regulated learning. Research into the issue has shown that low-achieving students have a poor perception of their self-efficacy (Schunk, 1991; Zimmerman, Bandura and Martinez-Pons, 1992; Pajares and Kranzler, 1995; Pajares, 1996; Bandura, 1997; Chye, Walker and Smith, 1997; Andrew and Vialle, 1998; Lopez,

* Corresponding author. Tel.: ++90 212 383 48 28; fax: +90 212 383 48 08. E-mail address: sertelaltun@gmail.com

1877-0428 © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of The Association of Science, Education and Technology-TASET, Sakarya Universitesi, Turkey. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.12.270

1998; Pajares and Graham, 1999) and that they use fewer learning strategies (Paterson, 1996; Zimmerman and Risemberg, 1997; Soung Youn, 2001; Mc Whaw and Abhami, 2001; Vandergriht, 2002; Chularut and De Backer, 2004).

Today, the impact of self-regulation on academic achievement in various disciplines has become a popular research area. Mathematics is one such discipline. Malpass, O'neil, Harold and Hocevar (1999) found in a study conducted on students good at mathematics that there was a strong relationship between mathematics achievement and self-regulation, goal management and perceptions of self-efficacy. This study aims to identify how the mathematics achievement of university students is affected by self regulation skills (metacognitive self-regulation, regulation of time and study environment, effort management, help seeking strategies) and self-efficacy perceptions.

1.1. Self-Regulated Learning

An important concept in socio-cognitive learning theory, self-regulation relates to the use ofprocesses such as thinking, taking action, behaving and engaging in purposeful activities (Zimmerman, 1989). According to a different definition, self-regulation is a process whereby students actively manage their cognition, motivation and behavior after passing through certain self-regulatory processes (Hofer, Yu and Pintrich 1998). Elsewhere, self-regulation has been defined as the process of setting realistic goals, strategizing to achieve these goals, implementing the strategies, and selfevaluating oneself(Bandura, 1994; Zimmerman and Risemberg 1997). Based on these definitions, it can be stated that self-regulated learning entails the regulation of an individual's self-produced emotions, thoughts and behaviors with the aim of achieving an aim.

1.2. Metacognitive Self-Regulation

The concept of metacognition was first defined by Brown (1975) and Flavell (1976). They defined it as the knowledge of individuals about their own cognitive processes and the strategies they use to control these processes ( In. Flavell, 1987; Baird and White, 1996). Metacognition involves knowledge about cognition and how individuals use this knowledge to regulate their cognition (Hofer, Yu and Pintrich 1998; Schraw, 2001). Research studies have shown that there is a strong relationship between the use of metacognitive strategies and academic achievement (Carr and Jessup 1997; Maqsud, 1997; Desoete, 2001).

1.3. Time and Study Environment

The regulation of time and study environment helps students pursue their academic studies productively (Zimmerman, 1998). Time management strategy entails the processes of planning, implementing the plan and self evaluation with the aim of using time effectively. Previous studies have shown that students who use time management strategy efficiently have better academic achievement (Zimmerman, Greenberg and Weinstein 1994; Britton and Tessor, 1991).

The regulation of study environment strategy involves the regulation of a student's study environment in a way that will help the achievement of aims. Zimmerman and Martinez-Pons (1989b) found in a study that students with self-regulation skills arranged their physical environment according to their own needs and their academic achievement was high.

1.4. Effort Regulation

Effort regulation strategy entails the use of an individual's effort for achievement effectively. In other words, effort regulation is the ability to deal with failure and building resiliency to setbacks (Chen, 2002). Using effort regulation strategy enables students to focus their attention on the task at hand, and control their effort to do the task by ignoring outside stimulants. Pintrich et. al. (1991) define individuals with effort regulation strategy as those who can perform tasks as they have planned. Research shows that effort regulation was a strong predictor ofacademic achievement (Doljonac, 1994).

1.5. Help Seeking

This strategy involves the efforts of individuals to secure assistance from others. Help seeking is considered to be an important element of social learning. Students who study in a self-regulated learning environment can choose people who can assist them when necessary and receive the help needed. This help provider may be a peer or a teacher (Hofer et.al., 1998). Previous research has shown that success-oriented and active students who adopted specialization attitude sought help when needed (Ames and Lau, 1982; Karabenich and Knapp, 1991 in Chen, 2002).

1.6. Self-Efficacy Perception

Self-efficacy perception has an important role in the development of students' self-regulation skills. Self-efficacy is people's beliefs about their capabilities to perform a task successfully (Pajares, 2002a). A must for achievement, self-regulation is affected by self-efficacy (Zimmerman et.al., 1992). Students with self-regulation primarily need a high level of self-efficacy (Schunk and Ertmer, 2000). Research has shown that students with high levels of self-efficacy perception use effective self-regulation strategies and display high levels of academic achievement (Pajares, 2002b; Malpass, Neil and Hocevar 1999; Zimmerman and Bandura, 1994; Schunk and Swartz, 1993; Marsh, 1990; Pintrich and De Groot 1990; Zimmerman and Martinez-Ponsb, 1990; Helmke, 1989; Schunk, 1989).

1.7. Gender

Gender roles emerge according to the culture of societies and it is important to understand their effects on individuals' learning-related skills. Relevant studies have shown that motivational factors based on self-regulation and strategy use both differ according to gender (Zimmerman and Martinez-Pons, 1990; Qutami and Abu-Jaber, 1997; Wolters and Pintrich, 1998; Peklaj and Pecjak, 2002; Ader, 2004). As gender perceptions are different in each society, the present study also aims to identify whether the effects of self-regulation strategies and self-efficacy perceptions on the achievement ofTurkish students varies between the two genders.

1.8. Current Study

The aim of the current study is to examine with respect to gender the mathematics achievement prediction of self-regulation based learning strategies (metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation, effort regulation, help-seeking) and self-efficacy perception scores.

The study has been conducted on university students because, as seen from a general cognitive skills aspect, they have more advanced self-regulation strategies and beliefs about learning when compared to lower level students (Pintrich and De Groot 1990; Wigfield, Eccles and Pintrich, 1996 cited in Zimmerman, 1998). The self-regulation skills of students depend on the subject that they are studying. This study aims to explain student achievement in the course Mathematics I attended by frehmen engineering and architecture students. This specific course was chosen as it is a prerequisite for engineering programs and mathematics achievement is generally low in Turkey (Pisa study). Additionally, gender was also taken as a variable as individuals' learning skills may be affected by gender roles which change according to a society's cultural makeup. 2. Method

2.1. Subjects

The study group of comprises a total of 472 first-year university students attending Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Metallurgical Engineering, and Architecture Departments. A total of30,4% ofthese students were female while the remaining 69,6% were male.

2.2. Research Instrument

Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ):

In order to determine the students' self-regulation based learning strategies (metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation, effort regulation, help-seeking) and self-efficacy perception scores, the relevant dimensions of the MSLQ developed by Pintrich, Smith, Garcia and Mc Keachie (1991) for use with university students was employed. Designed as a 7-point likert scale, it was used in the course Mathematics I.

Language adaptation equivalency, validity and reliability studies were undertaken prior to the use ofthe scale. As a result, the Cronbach Alpha reliability coefficients for metacognitive self-regulation was 0.85, for time and study environment regulation was 0.77, for effort regulation was 0.88, for help seeking was 0.76, and for self-efficacy was 0.89.

2.3 Mathematics Achievement

Mathematics achievement was calculated by adding 60% of students' mean scores on the first and second mid-term examination results with 40% oftheir final examination grades in the course Mathematics I.

2.4. Procedure

The students were given scales to identify their "demographic information, self-regulation based learning strategies, and self-efficacy perceptions" simultaneously. They had 30 minutes to complete the scales. Additionally, their end-of-term grades were obtained from the instructors offering the course Methematics I.

2.5. Statistical Techniques

"Multiple Regression Analysis" was used in order to identify the mathematics achievement prediction of self-regulation based learning strategies and self-efficacy perception scores with respect to gender. The 13.00 SPSS package program was used for the analyses. 3. Results

The effects of metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation, effort regulation, help-seeking and self-efficacy perception on mathematics achievement: Multiple regression analysis was used to determine to what extent metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation, effort regulation, help-seeking and self-efficacy perception predict mathematics achievement.

Prior to the regression analysis, Pearson correlation analysis was conducted to identify the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. Results ofthe analysis are given in Table 1.

_Table 1: Correlation Analysis Results between Dependent And Independent Variables

Variables N r P

Metacognitive self-regulation & mathematics 472 .54 .01

achievement

Regulation oftime and stduy environment& mathematics 472 .46 .01

achievement

Effort management& mathematics achievement 472 .43 .01

Help seeking& mathematics achievement 472 .25 .01

Self-efficacy& mathematics achievement 472 .44 .01

As shown in Table 1, there is positive and meaningful correlation (p<,01) between metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation, effort regulation, help-seeking and self-efficacy perception scores and mathematics achievement scores. Table 2 presents the multiple regression analysis results relating to the prediction of mathematics achievement by self-regulation based learning strategies and self-efficacy perceptions.

Table 2; Multiple Regression Analysis on Independent Variables and Dependent Variable

Unstandardized Standardized

Variables Coefficients Coefficients

B SH ß T

Intercept -14.10 4.2 -3.31**

Metacognitive self-regulation .42 .08 .246 4 77**

Regulation of time and study environment .37 .10 .182 3.72**

Effort management .26 .17 .075 1.53

Help seeking .30 .15 .077 1.93*

Self-efficacy .58 .08 .284 7.15**

R= 0.62 R2= 0.39 F=59.4** *p<05 **p<0

As can be seen from Table 2, the regression analysis results show that self-regulation based learning strategies and self-efficacy perception scores are meaningful predictors of mathematics success. The independent variables of metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation, effort regulation, help-seeking and self-efficacy perception account for 39% of the variance on the dependent variable of mathematics achievement. When the parameters about the regression model in Table 2 are considered, it can be seen that the relative importance ranking of predictive variables on mathematics achievement scores according to the standardized regression coefficient (P) is; self-efficacy perception, metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation, help-seeking and effort regulation. It was concluded that, among the independent variables, metacognitive self-regulation (t=4,77, p<,01), time and study environment regulation (t=3,72, p<,01), help-seeking (t=l,93, p<,01), self-efficacy perception (t=7,15, p<,01) were meaningful predictors of mathematics achievement, while effort regulation was not.

The effects of metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation, effort regulation, help-seeking and self-efficacy perception on mathematics achievement with respect to gender: Multiple regression analysis was used to determine to what extent metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation, effort regulation, help-seeking and self-efficacy perception predict mathematics achievement with respect to gender.

Mathematics achievement scores of girls and boys, correlation coefficients between self-regulation based learning strategies and self-efficacy perception scores, and the levels ofmeaningfulness are given in Table 3.

Table 3: Correlation Analysis Results of Girls and Boys between their Self-Regulation Based Learning Strategies and Self-Efficacy Perception Scores and their Mathematics Achievement Scores

Girls Boys

(mathematics (mathematics

Variables N achievement) achievement)

G B r P* r p*

Metacognitive self-regulation 143+329 ,36 .01 .59 .01

Regulation of time and study environment 143+329 .39 .01 .46 .01

Effort management 143+329 .42 .01 .40 .01

Help seeking 143+329 .22 .01 .20 .01

Self-efficacy 143+329 .21 .01 .65 .01

As seen from Table 3, positive and meaningful correlations were found between mathematics achievement scores for girls and metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation, effort regulation, help seeking and self-efficacy perceptions. Parallel to this finding, positive meaningful correlations were also found between boys' mathematics achievement scores and metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation, effortregulation; help seeking and self-efficacy perceptions.

Table 4: Multiple Regression Analysis on independent Variables and Dependent Variable

according to Gender

Gender Unstandardized Standardized

Variables Coefficients Coefficients

B SH p T

Intercept 11.33 8.82 1.28

Metacognitive 8.09E-02 .11 .05 .45

self-regulation

Regulation of time and stduy .21 .23 .10 .93

environment

Effort management .96 .40 .26 2.39**

Help seeking .44 .28 .12 .01

Girls Self-efficacy .25 .15 .13 1.69

Intercept -24.03 3.34 -5.53**

Metacognitive .46 .09 .26 4.92**

self-regulation

Regulation of time and stduy .38 .09 .19 3.98**

environment

Effort management -6E.02 .16 -.02 -.40

Help seeking 1.75E-02 .17 .00 .10

£ M Self-efficacy .97 .09 .46 10.60**

Rg= .48 R2g=.23 Fg=8.26** Rb= .73 RV.54 Fb= 76.77** **P<.01

Table 4 presents the multiple regression analysis results related to girls' and boys' mathematics achievement scores. The table shows that self-regulation based learning strategies and self-efficacy perception scores are meaningful predictors of mathematics achievement for both genders (Fgiris = 8,26, p<,01; Fboys= 76,77, p<,01). In girls, self-regulation based learning strategies and self-efficacy perceptions account for 23% of the variance on mathematics achievement. In boys, the same value is much higher: %54. According to the standardized regression coefficients (P) given in the table, the relative importance ranking of predictors on mathematics achievement scores is as follows in girls: effort regulation, self-efficacy, time and study environment regulation regulation, metacognitive self-regulation, and help seeking. In bys, the relative importance ranking is as follows: self-efficacy perceptions, metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation, help seeking and effort regulation. While effort regulation (t= 2.39, p<,01) is a meaningful predictor on its own for girls, metacognitive self-regulation (t= 4.92, p<,01); time and study environment regulation (t= 3.98, p<,01) and self-efficacy perceptions (t= 10.6, p<,01) are meaningful predictors ofmathematics achievement in boys. In brief, metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation, effort regulation, help-seeking strategies and self-efficacy perception scores were found to have different effects on explaining mathematics achievement with respect to gender. More precisely, metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation strategies and self-efficacy perceptions were found to have a statistically meaningful effect on predicting mathematics achievement in boys, whereas effort regulation alone was found to be a meaningful predictor ofmathematics achievement in girls. 4. Discussion

At the end of the analyses, a positive relationship was found between the self-regulation based learning strategies and self-efficacy perceptions of university students and their mathematics achievement. The regression

analysis showed that all self-regulation learning strategies - except effort regulation - and self-efficacy perceptions have a meaningful effect on explaining the variance in mathematics achievement. The analyses have shown that self-efficacy perceptions have the biggest role in predicting mathematics achievement. Self-efficacy is the belief of an individual in their own capacity to organize and successfully perform those activities necessary to perform at a certain level (Bandura, 1986:391). Believeing in one's achievement is the precondition to being successful in a course. Students with high self-efficacy perceptions more readily adapt to school life and therefore display better achievement (Schunk, 1981). When students believe that they will be successful in a course, they have more confidence that they will be able to regulate their learning, set higher goals for that course, and identify and implement strong strategies to reach their aims. Studies in the literature have similar findings to that of the present study (Norwich, 1987; Pintrich and De Groot, 1990; Zimmerman and Martinez Pons, 1990; Seegers and Boekaerts, 1993; Pajares and Kranzler, 1995; Fortier et.al., 1995; Chye et.al., 1997; Lopez, 1998; Andrew and Vialle, 1998; Pajares and Graham, 1999; Ader, 2004). Studies undertaken in the areas of foreign language education and social sciences have likewise found a positive relationship between academic achievement and self-efficacy perceptions (Helmke, 1989; Schunk, 1989; Marsh, 1990; Schunkand Swartz, 1993; Malpass, 1999).

It has been found that metacognitive self-regulation strategy takes second place after self-efficacy in the prediction of mathematics achievement. Metacognition is knowing about one's own knowledge, controlling it during the process, and regulating is as necessary. The contents of a mathematics course have a pre-requisite relationship to one another, which means that it is difficult to learn a new subj ect without mastering the previous ones. As students with metacognitive skills are more aware of their lacks, they make an effort to master old subjects before starting a new one, thus achieving better ultimately.

Findings from studies in the literature about the prediction of mathematics achievement are also in line with those of the present study (Maqsud, 1997; Boekaerts, 1997; Carr and Jessup, 1997; Demir-Gul^en, 2000; Everson and Tobias, 2001, Desoete, 2001). The experimental studies conducted by Volet (1991) and Kramarski and Zeicher (2001) both concluded that the achievement of groups that received metacognitive support in mathematics classes was statistically meaningfully better than those who did not receive such support. These researchers also stated that individuals may improve their metacognitive skills. To achieve this, the learning environment needs to value student participation, provide feedback to students about their development, and allow them to evaluate themselves.

Time and study environment regulation emerged as the third predictor of mathematics achievement. In other words, it was found that students who used their time and study environment effectively achieved more in the mathematics class. This strategy involves planning one's time so as to meet goals, following this plan, and regulating the environment. Likewise, Zimmerman and Martinez Pons (1988) and Paterson (1996) reached similar results too. The findings ofthe present study support the literature as well.

In the prediction of mathematics achievement, help-seeking emerged as the least important variable. Help-seeking not only has an important place in social constructive theory, but also in self-regulation. Research shows that students who knew when and who to consult for help achieved better than those who did not (Paterson 1996; Newman 1994). Our findings also support the idea that the use of help-seeking affects mathematics achievement positively.

The current study has shown that effort regulation does not have a meaningful effect on student mathematics achievement. Effort regulation entails taking precautions against failure (Chen, 2002). In a study about the relationship between effort regulation and academic achievement, Paterson (1996) concluded that the former has a positive effect on achievement when taught in academic settings. This result may have been caused by the descriptive nature ofthe study and the norm based assessment used at the university where the study took place.

The findings of the present study showed that metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation, effort regulation, help-seeking strategies and self-efficacy perception scores were different in the two genders. In explaining boys' mathematics achievement, metacognitive self-regulation, time and study

environment regulation and self-efficacy perceptions had a positive and meaningful effect, whereas in explaining boys' mathematics achievement, effort regulation alone caused a similar effect. Similar findings can be found in other studies cited in the literature. To illustrate, Wolters and Pintrich (1998) and Ader (2004) found lower self-efficacy perceptions among girls in mathematics classes than boys. Similar findings were reached for different courses by Qutami and Abu-Jaber (1997). They showed that girls had lower self-efficacy perceptions than boys in computer classes. However, there are also studies in the literature that show otherwise. For instance, Peklaj and Pecjak, (2002) found that girls had higher metacognitive self-regulation skills than boys in mathematics class. The literature also hosts studies which concluded that self-efficacy perceptions and self-regulation based learning strategies did not vary according to gender. Pajares and Graham (1999), Miller (2000), and Lee and Browman (2001) supported this through their studies. Such different results in the literature may be due to the different outlooks on girls in different cultures. For instance, boys are generally thought to be better inclined to mathematics in Turkey, which may have led them to believe that they are sufficient in mathematics class. The reason why effort regulation was found to be effective in predicting girls' mathematics achievement may have been because they believe they are making more of an effort to be successful. In the Turkish society, where boys are generally encouraged by their families to pursue a higher education, girls more often need to prove to their families that they are successful in order to continue their education.

To sum up, the present study has shown that self-regulation based learning strategies (metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation, effort regulation, help-seeking) and self-efficacy perceptions have a positive effect on Turkish university students' mathematics achievement. Among all variables, the most effective one changes between the two genders. While the self-regulation based learning strategies of metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment regulation and self-efficacy perceptions are important in explaining boys' mathematics achievement, effort regulation alone is important in explaining girls' mathematics achievement. This difference may have been caused by culture. In Turkey where boys are perceived to be more valuable to their families (Kagitfibaji, 1981), the mental capacities ofboys are supported and admired by their parents. Such an attitude from their parents may be encouraging boys' self-efficacy. On the other hand, girls, whose mental capacities are not equally rewarded by their parents or teachers, may be reaching success with their own effort.

New studies may be conducted by providing a self-regulation based learning environment and measuring the extent to which these environments contribute to the development of girls' and boys' self-regulation skills. Additionally, comprehensive studies are needed about the cross-cultural variables affecting self-regulation skills so that teachers can take more effective measures for enhanced learning. References

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