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The role of personal and contextual variables in college students' academic achievement

Dissertation
Author: Rachel A. Rogers
Abstract:
College matriculation rates are increasing but graduation rates are failing to parallel the increased enrollment. One reason for this discrepancy may be that many college students are unable to regulate their own learning. This dissertation examined the Self-Regulated Learning (SRL; Pintrich, 2004) model in students taking Statistics in Psychology and Research Methods. The inclusion of the constructs of possible selves and identity development in the SRL model was proposed, as was the Achievement Goal Questionnaire (AGQ; Elliot & McGregor, 2001), a measure of the 2x2 Framework of achievement goal orientation. These variables were assessed along with those included in the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ; Pintrich, Smith, Garcia & McKeachie, 1993). Results indicated that possible selves and the AGQ are not useful predictors of the academic outcomes of test grade and expected final grade. Ego identity status, however, was a significant predictor of course outcomes. The best single predictor was self-efficacy for learning from the MSLQ. Multiple regression models accounted for 27-36% of the variance in test grades and 49-67% of the variance in expected final grades. Evaluation of strategy change over the course of a semester revealed that students do adjust their study strategies and motivational beliefs effectively.

V TABLE OF CONTENTS DEDICATION iii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iv LIST OF TABLES vii LIST OF FIGURES viii ABSTRACT ix CHAPTER PAGE I. INTRODUCTION 1 Definitions 11 Summary 14 Organization 14 II. LITERATURE REVIEW 16 Motivational Constructs 17 Cognitive Constructs 36 Personal and Contextual Constructs 44 Research Questions 49 Conclusions 50 III. METHODS 52 Participants 53 Measures 55 Summary 61

vi IV. RESULTS 63 Question One 63 Question Two 68 Question Three 72 Summary 74 V. DISCUSSION 75 Question One 75 Question Two 76 Question Three 81 Correlation 82 Limitations and Future Directions 85 Conclusions 88 REFERENCES 89 APPENDIX A: COPIES OF APPROVAL LETTERS FOR RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS 98 APPENDIX B: SURVEY 102 APPENDIX C: SURVEY QUESTIONS THAT MAKE UP EACH SUBSCALE 118 TABLES 119

Vll LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Means and Standard Deviations for Wave 1 Predictor and Criterion Variables for Single Wave and Longitudinal Participants 119 Table 2 Means and Standard Deviations for Wave 2 Predictor and Criterion Variables for the Longitudinal Sample 121 Table 3 Correlations Between All Predictor and Criterion Variables for Single Wave and Longitudinal Samples 122 Table 4 Correlations of All Wave 1 Motivation Variable 124 Table 5 Correlations of Wave 1 MSLQ Learning Strategies Variables 125 Table 6 Correlations of All Wave 2 Variables Significantly Correlated with Outcomes 126 Table 7 Regression Predicting Test Grade in the Single Wave Sample 127 Table 8 Regression Predicting Expected Final Grade in the Single Wave Sample 128 Table 9 Regression Predicting Test Grade in the Longitudinal Sample 129 Table 10 Regression to Predict Expected Final Grade in the Longitudinal Sample 130 Table 11 Regression to Examine Change in Test Grade Correlates 131 Table 12 Regression to Examine Change in Expected Final Grade Correlates.. .132

Vl l l LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1 General Model of Self Regulated Learning Theory 133

IX ABSTRACT THE ROLE OF PERSONAL AND CONTEXTUAL VARIABLES IN COLLEGE STUDENTS' ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT By Rachel A. Rogers University of New Hampshire, December 2010 College matriculation rates are increasing but graduation rates are failing to parallel the increased enrollment. One reason for this discrepancy may be that many college students are unable to regulate their own learning. This dissertation examined the Self-Regulated Learning (SRL; Pintrich, 2004) model in students taking Statistics in Psychology and Research Methods. The inclusion of the constructs of possible selves and identity development in the SRL model was proposed, as was the Achievement Goal Questionnaire (AGQ; Elliot & McGregor, 2001), a measure of the 2x2 Framework of achievement goal orientation. These variables were assessed along with those included in the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ; Pintrich, Smith, Garcia & McKeachie, 1993). Results indicated that possible selves and the AGQ are not useful predictors of the academic outcomes of test grade and expected final grade. Ego identity status, however, was a significant predictor of course outcomes. The best single predictor was self-efficacy for learning from the MSLQ. Multiple regression models accounted for 27-36% of the variance in test grades and 49-67% of the variance in expected final grades. Evaluation of strategy change over the course of a semester revealed that students do adjust their study strategies and motivational beliefs effectively.

1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The United States college population is growing. According to a National Panel Report from the American Association of Colleges and Universities, "seventy-five percent of high school graduates get some postsecondary education within two years of receiving their diplomas" (2001). Today, college enrollment is viewed as a normative part of the life track for adolescents in the United States. Many high school students are no longer asked "Will you go to college?" but "Which college have you chosen?" or "What will your major be when you go to college?" First hand experience as an instructor and anecdotal evidence from fellow instructors and professors reveal that students in college often do not have the skills necessary to do well in classes or effectively gain information. Nationwide reports support these observations. "Greater Expectations," a National Panel Report (Universities, 2002), and "A Test of Leadership," a report of the Commission appointed by Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (Spellings, 2006), both claimed that students in college today are often underprepared for their studies. For example, students do not seem to know how to highlight readings appropriately, how to write in complete sentences, how to take advantages of all the academic resources at hand, or how to apply a variety of techniques in seeking solutions to problems. It is not the hours that are spent studying but the quality of the study that affects academic outcomes, and yet Williams and Clark (2004) demonstrated that students believe the amount of effort they expend in their studies is the best predictor of their academic performance when it is actually the worst predictor.

Although college attendance has risen in recent years, the graduation rate has not kept pace (Spellings, 2006). Only sixty-six percent of students graduate within six years of matriculation. With more students applying to and attending colleges and universities, dealing with underprepared students can become costly in terms of tuition, financial resources, time, tutors, effort, and even class space. In order to handle college work, pass their courses, and graduate, college students must learn effective study strategies, be able to self-motivate, and regulate their own learning. There are several models of motivation and achievement for college students. One such model is the self-regulated learning (SRL) model. Because of the importance of self-regulation in college study, this dissertation is based on self-regulated learning theory. Self-regulated learning was defined by Zimmerman (2008), a leading researcher on self-regulation, as "the degree to which students are metacognitively, motivationally, and behaviorally active participants in their own learning process" (p. 167). Self-regulation is a cyclical process, and contains feedback loops that allow students to adjust their beliefs, effort, and the environment continuously. Adjustments are made based on performance, environmental cues, and self-awareness. The process of self-regulation consists a series of phases of activity (Zimmerman, 2000). Planning for future efforts, or forethought, is composed of task analysis (i.e., goal setting and strategic planning) and self-motivational beliefs (i.e., self-efficacy, outcome expectations, intrinsic interest/value, and goal orientation). Once action has begun, self- regulation enters the volitional control phase, which includes self-control and self- observation. Pintrich (2004) divided this phase into two phases: monitoring (or self-

3 observation) and self-control. After the task is complete and feedback is received, self- regulation is in the self-reflection phase, which includes self-judgment and self-reaction (Zimmerman, 2000). These reflections are then used in subsequent forethought phases to plan for future behavior and make adjustments based on the new information. Self-regulation is not an infallible process - it can collapse at each phase of the cycle (Zimmerman, 2000). Breakdowns can be clearly seen in the experiences of college students. Suboptimal levels of the constructs in the forethought phase of self-regulation could result in a lack of control over efforts toward goal attainment. Lack of self- awareness or self-control skills could cause a failure of self-regulation regardless of self- motivation. Limited feedback from the environment, students' inability to detect any feedback, or their rejection of feedback could lead to ineffective self-reflection, which would then affect the next cycle of activity toward goal attainment. A key principle of self-regulation is that it is a dynamic process in which the individual engages as he or she works toward a goal. Without feedback or reflection, adjustments cannot be made and regulation of behaviors does not take place. The environment can influence self-regulation in either a positive or negative direction. If the environment provides no feedback or social cues, it is difficult for effective self-regulation to take place. On the other hand, the environment can provide modeling, scaffolding, or direct instruction on methods for becoming a better self- regulator. In fact, development of self-regulatory skill frequently requires social influence (Zimmerman, 2000). When instructors understand the relations between the variables included in SRL theory, they are able to provide better scaffolding, modeling, and more direct instruction (Bembenutty, 2009). With sufficient instructor interactions

4 with students, training in self-regulation can be differentiated to a particular student's needs. Pintrich's (1995) version of self-regulated learning theory stated that personal characteristics, classroom characteristics, motivational variables, study strategies, and regulation strategies interact and are related to academic outcomes. This view of self- regulation differed in substantive ways from Zimmerman's (2000), which only focused on the cognitive components of self-regulation. In Pintrich's research, personal characteristics are traits inherent to the individual, such as age, sex, and ethnicity. Previous knowledge in the subject area is also commonly included in this group of variables. Classroom characteristics are those variables that are most often set by the instructor, such as the instructor's goals for the class, the amount of student interaction that takes place in the classroom, instructor behavior, the form that rewards take, and the difficulty of the task. In related literature, motivation is defined as "the process whereby goal-directed behavior is instigated and sustained" (Schunk, 1990, p. 3). In SRL research, common motivational variables are self-efficacy, goal orientation, test anxiety, and task value. Cognitive strategies for student learning are "thoughts and behaviors that a student engages in during learning that are intended to influence the encoding process" (Pintrich, 1989, p. 129). Cognitive learning strategies have been categorized into three groups: cognitive strategies (such as rehearsal, organization, elaboration and critical thinking), metacognitive strategies (such as planning, monitoring and self-regulation strategies), and resource management strategies (such as time and environment management, and help seeking). Motivation and cognition are two components of SRL theory that are controlled by the student.

5 The academic outcomes included in the SRL model include persistence at college or study, course choice, effort, and achievement. A great deal of SRL research focused on academic achievement in the form of test or course grades. These two outcome variables can potentially be explained by factors such as the persistence the student brought to his or her college career (as a metacognitive variable), why the student enrolled in the course (as a motivational variable), and how much effort the student put into his or her studies (as a regulatory variable). Therefore, it is possible to see persistence and effort variables mentioned as both outcomes (Garcia & Pintrich, 1994) and correlates of outcomes (Pintrich, Smith, Garcia, & McKeachie, 1993) in different studies. The study of SRL has not always used these variables or Pintrich's (1995) definition. Zimmerman was one of the first researchers to label the process of actively pursuing knowledge "self-regulation" (Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1986). At that time, the typical research approach was to explore the components of students' motivation to learn and their ability to do so. Zimmerman's early studies focused on identifying the self-regulatory strategies employed by students (Zimmerman & Martinez- Pons, 1986), validating an interview measure of self-regulatory processes (Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1988), and applying a social-cognitive framework to the study of self- regulated learning (Zimmerman, 1989). Pintrich (1989) strongly advocated for the inclusion of motivational constructs in the study of cognitive and metacognitive variables. He claimed that cognition and motivation must be coordinated by the individual in the context of a particular assignment and classroom in order for successful learning to take place. Pintrich's

6 conclusion was that motivation and cognition must be studied together, and he began doing research to integrate these areas. In an early study of what would become SRL Theory, Pintrich (1989) included value, expectancy and affect variables in his motivation section and cognitive and resource management strategies in his cognition section. These variables were correlated with four academic outcomes: exam grades, lab grades, performance on papers, and final class grade in English composition, Introductory Biology, and Introductory Psychology. Test grade and final class grades were significantly, positively correlated with variables in all three classes (i.e., rehearsal, organization, metacognition, time, effort management, intrinsic goal orientation, task value, control beliefs, and expectancies for success). Lab and paper grades were correlated with fewer strategies, but they were both significantly positively correlated with metacognition, effort management, control beliefs and expectancy beliefs. This very early study promoted the inclusion of motivational variables in SRL research, proved that different academic outcomes are related to both cognitive and motivational variables, and set the stage for later work on self-regulated learning. Other studies using SRL theory in the 1980s and early 1990s were concerned with identifying the variables that are correlated with academic outcomes and developing different means of measuring them (Zimmerman, 2008). For example, Pintrich and his colleagues (Pintrich et al., 1993) began developing a questionnaire on the basis of "a general cognitive view of motivation and learning strategies, with the student represented as an active processor of information, whose beliefs and cognitions are important mediators of instructional input" (p. 801). The Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) was not developed as a direct measure of SRL theory, but the

7 theoretical basis on which it was formed is essentially a self-regulated learning model. The MSLQ is therefore a useful tool for SRL research because of the inclusion of a variety of pertinent motivational and cognitive subscales in the same instrument. The subscales of the MSLQ, at various stages of development, have also been shown to correlate with academic outcomes such as exam, lab, and paper grades, as well as standardized test scores and final course grades (Pintrich, 1989; Pintrich & De Groot, 1990; Pintrich et al., 1993; VanderStoep, Pintrich, & Fagerlin, 1996; Wolters, 1998). The current SRL model states that student and classroom characteristics, as well as motivational, cognitive, and metacognitive factors, interact and are related to academic outcomes such as choice of major or course, effort, persistence, and achievement. More specifically, the effect of personal and contextual variables on outcomes is mediated by motivational and cognitive processes (Pintrich, 2004). SRL theory is unique among motivational learning theories in that it includes constructs from several lines of research as well as specific cognitive and metacognitive strategies that students use to attain their goals (Zimmerman, 2000). As will be discussed subsequently, the research on this model has examined a number of variables, but could expand upon the types of motivational measures and personal variables included. The research described in this dissertation examines achievement goal orientation, possible selves, and ego identity status to see if they contribute to the predictive value of SRL variables in explaining the particular academic outcomes of test and final course grades. Figure 1 displays Pintrich's conceptualization of SRL theory (Zusho & Pintrich, 2003). In this diagram, the boxes indicate gross psychological constructs that are then

8 divided into individual constructs. The arrows connecting the boxes indicate the theorized direction of effects. Motivational and cognitive processes are thought to interrelate and to mediate the relations between personal and contextual variables and outcome variables, although the research to date has failed to show that this is true statistical mediation (Pintrich, 2004). The literature review that follows will be organized by the boxes of the diagram, with an eye to how each box relates to the others. SRL variables, as measured by the MSLQ, have been used to predict course outcomes. For example, Zusho and Pintrich (2003) examined the relations between motivational processes, cognitive processes, and academic outcomes for students in a chemistry course. The final regression equation accounted for 31% of the variability in course grade. The only personal/contextual variable Zusho and Pintrich included was SAT-mathematics score, as a proxy for prior knowledge. SAT score did contribute significantly to the final equation, although its contribution diminished with the addition of motivational variables, suggesting partial mediation. It is possible that additional personal/contextual variables would increase the predictive ability of the MSLQ and enhance understanding of SRL. The final MSLQ measure includes 15 subscales and 81 questions (Pintrich et al., 1993). The motivation component is broad and includes value components (intrinsic and extrinsic goal orientation and task value), expectancy components (control of learning beliefs, self-efficacy of learning beliefs) and affective components (test anxiety). The cognitive component of the questionnaire consists of four cognitive study strategies used by students (rehearsal, elaboration, organization, and critical thinking) and five metacognitive behaviors (time and study environment management, effort regulation,

9 peer learning, help-seeking and self-regulatory strategies). Some subscales could be divided along theoretical lines into separate constructs (e.g., self-efficacy could be split into expectancy for success and ability beliefs) but factor validation of the MSLQ loaded these items onto the same factor. The college context is an excellent setting for the study of self-regulation (Pintrich, 1995). In college, students often live away from home and are only in classes for a few hours each day, so they do not have the benefit of monitoring by parents and teachers to ensure that academic work is being completed. Therefore self-regulation becomes more necessary for academic achievement. Also, a meta-analysis of study habits, skills and attitudes found that these cognitive and motivational constructs were related to college performance, but not high school academic performance (Crede & Kuncel, 2008). Understanding how self-regulation occurs for this population is also important so that instructors can direct their students well. Zimmerman (2000) stated that self-regulatory skills can and should be taught. Consequently, understanding how the components of self-regulation interact is important so teachers can communicate this information to students in useful ways. Brief meta-learning segments can easily be added to the traditional classroom lecture and, if attended to, would greatly improve students' college experiences. As students are better able to regulate their own learning using the resources at their disposal (i.e., self-awareness, adjusting behavior based on prior outcomes, seeking help from instructors and other campus resources), their learning outcomes should improve. Before this practice should be employed, however, we must have a strong grasp of how these constructs relate. The nature of SRL theory, as outlined by Pintrich (2004) is general and flexible. In

10 the twenty years since this research began, the set of variables included in SRL studies has changed and our understanding of the variables themselves has changed as well. For example, in his early work, Pintrich (1989) only included the motivational constructs of intrinsic goal orientation, task value, control beliefs, and expectancy for success. Later work added text anxiety (Pintrich & DeGroot, 1990) and then extrinsic goal orientation (Pintrich et al., 1993). Goal orientation literature itself has progressed beyond the study of a single pair of goals to a set of three and then four goal orientations (Elliot, 1999; Elliot & McGregor, 2001). This expansion of goal orientations should be included in SRL research, yet researchers continue to use the MSLQ, which contains only intrinsic and extrinsic goal orientation subscales, as the sole measure of goal orientation in their studies (Lynch, 2006; Zusho & Pintrich, 2003). SRL theory is general in that it states that motivational variables of value, expectancy, and affect relate to cognitive variables of learning strategy, metacognition, and regulatory strategies and then influence academic outcomes, but does not specify how those variables should be measured. The MSLQ is one way of measuring SRL variables. Other, perhaps better, questionnaires are available and should be investigated. The goal of this study is to examine the relation between self-regulated learning as defined by Pintrich (2004) and academic achievement in college students, with an emphasis on the elaboration of the personal/contextual, motivational and cognitive components of the model and an examination of students' change in strategies in response to feedback (i.e., test scores). Identity status is examined as a personal/contextual variable along with various demographic characteristics. The MSLQ includes fifteen variables that have been integral components of the scholarship of

11 teaching and learning, but are there useful variables that are not included in the MSLQ? Do students use strategies other than those assessed in the questionnaire? Possible selves (Markus & Nurius, 1986) and Achievement Goals, as operationalized by Elliot and McGregor (2001) are included as alternatives or additions to the motivation measures included in the MSLQ. The rationale for the inclusion of these variables is elaborated below. Definitions Before embarking on a literature review or establishing connections between the many variables included in SLR research, it is first important to define some of the terminology that will be used in this dissertation. Achievement Goal Orientation A major segment of academic motivation research has centered on students' goal orientations. Achievement goals are "a priori framework[s] for how individuals construe achievement situations as well as how they interpret, evaluate, and act on achievement information" (Ames & Archer, 1987, p. 409). Dweck (1986) and Nicholls (1984) both defined achievement goals by focusing on the individual's reasons for engaging in competence-related behavior. An individual's goal orientation then is the particular goal at play that directs behavior and interaction with the environment. Achievement goals are typically separated into at least two categories. Two common goal pairings are intrinsic/extrinsic and mastery/performance. The definitions of the pairs of learning goals in early goal orientation research were similar enough that some reviewers combined intrinsic and mastery goals and then extrinsic and performance goals (e.g., Ames & Archer, 1987).

12 Intrinsic motivation is defined as the drive to engage in a task because of internal reward factors such as interest. It is often contrasted with extrinsic motivation, or the drive to engage in a task for external rewards. In academic achievement literature, intrinsic motivation is often equated to wanting to learn for the sake of learning or learning to master new skills, and extrinsic motivation is equated to wanting to engage in a task to get praise from parents, good grades from teachers (Davis, Winsler, & Middleton, 2006). Intrinsic goals and mastery goals are both concerned with achieving internal rewards instead of seeking external rewards or signs, which is the focus of extrinsic goals and performance goals. Possible Selves The addition of possible selves to the SRL model is proposed. Markus and Nurius (1986) described possible selves as vivid, detailed, socially created, personal structures of the self in the future. Possible selves are separate and can differ drastically from the current self-concept. Possible selves are particular to each individual, are specifically elaborated by the holder, and have personally relevant meaning. They are also formed from the individual's socio-cultural and historical context. Possible selves have two major functions: they provide context for evaluating the current self and serve as incentives for reaching desired selves or avoiding feared selves (Markus & Nurius, 1986). Possible selves provide context for interpretation of information about the self - drawing attention to information that relates to salient possible selves, whether positive or negative, and evaluating information in light of those possible selves (Markus & Nurius, 1986). The second function of possible selves is to help create an incentive to perform

13 goal-achieving tasks by forming cognitive goals or threats. In addition, Oyserman and Fryberg (2006) found that possible selves had a self-regulatory function. Therefore, possible selves variables are included in this dissertation research as motivational measures. Detailed possible selves can help the individual create pathways to achieve or avoid these future possibilities. Having an image of the self already in the desired future state is thought to be motivating, and having a detailed image of the self to work toward directs and focuses behavior (Markus & Nurius, 1986). Identity Development Erikson's theory of psychosocial development proposed that the important work of adolescence was to resolve personal identity crises (Erikson, 1968). According to Erikson, adolescents explore possible identities and then commit to some as their own. Following Erikson, Marcia (1966) classified individuals on the degree of exploration and commitment they should. Identity achieved individuals are those who have actively explored possible identities and have committed to specific choices. Individuals who are actively exploring, but have yet to commit to an option are in the identity moratorium status. Individuals who have committed to specific choices without exploring the options available to them are in the identity foreclosure status. Identity diffusions are those who have not explored options and have not yet made any commitments. Identity status may be particularly useful addition to SRL research in the college population because college is an excellent setting for exploration and commitment to take place. It is likely that students will show variability in their level of commitment and exploration of identities, and by extension, college major courses. In addition to the cognitive processes that are available to college students because of their age, they are

14 also confronted with the need to select and pursue a major (i.e., an identity). The student's identity status may affect how he or she approaches academic assignments as well. Summary Pintrich (1989), Zimmerman (2000, 2008) and other researchers asserted that SRL theory can be used to explain variation in several academic outcomes. Persistence in degree attainment, choice of major or course selection, effort in studies, and achievement are all academic outcomes examined in the vast body of SRL research. This dissertation, like many of the studies in the area (e.g., Lynch, 2006; Patrick, Ryan, & Pintrich, 1999; Pintrich, 1989; Pintrich & De Groot, 1990; VanderStoep et al., 1996; Wolters, 1998; Zusho & Pintrich, 2003), is focused on examining how SRL variables relate to the course outcome variables of test grade and expected final course grade. Self-regulated learning theory is broad and it allows for the inclusion of a variety of constructs. This dissertation will investigate the inclusion of two constructs that are not traditional SRL variables as well as one alternate measure of goal orientation. Organization The following chapter contains sections on each group of variables in SRL theory. Because motivational and cognitive variables directly relate to academic outcomes, according to SRL theory, these two groups of variables will be addressed first. The presentation of past research will turn first to motivation and then to cognition. It is important to remember that SRL theory proposes that both types of variables are "in play" at the same time (see figure 1), and are thought to be related to one another. Finally, the discussion will turn to personal and contextual variables, such as age, sex,

15 academic task, teacher variables, and the proposed addition of identity status. Personal and contextual constructs are thought to influence academic outcomes, but indirectly through motivational and cognitive variables. Chapter three will describe the participants, methods, and questionnaires included in this dissertation. Chapter four will present the results of the data collection and analysis. Chapter five will discuss the results and how the findings relate to the research questions of this study and to past research.

16 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction Self-regulation appears to be crucial for effective college study. In academia, as in SRL research, learning is measured by performance in classes, especially in the form of test grades and final course grades. Self-regulation of learning behaviors should lead to better retention of material and problem solving skills, which should result in higher grades on tests and in overall course performance. As previously discussed, a number of factors make self-regulation especially crucial in college. SRL theory includes a diverse selection of variables that relate to the criterion variables under study - test grade and expected final grade. SRL theory also states that the three major groups of variables (personal/contextual, cognitive and motivational) relate to one another as well. Specifically, motivational and cognitive variables mediate relations between personal/contextual variables and academic outcomes. Motivational and cognitive variables also relate to one another. SRL research has examined the relations between the various components of the model, but few studies have examined the model as a whole. Also, the theory is several decades old and separate research has extended or altered the understanding of included variables since SRL was introduced. Current SRL research should include the best version of all constructs. The goal in this chapter is to describe the research on each group of variables (or boxes) included in SRL theory, as seen in Figure 1. The nature of the research on SRL variables, however, makes the discussion of the literature along strict lines impossible

17 and some overlap will occur. For example, many studies on goal orientation (a motivational variable) also measure study strategies (cognitive variables). First, motivational constructs included in SRL will be discussed. Self-efficacy, task value, goal orientation and test anxiety are included in this box of variables. In this section of the chapter, possible selves will be introduced as a construct for potential inclusion in SRL research. Cognitive components of self-regulated learning will be discussed next. These components include the specific study strategies employed by students as well as the metacognitive and regulatory skills crucial for effective study. Finally, personal and contextual variables will be discussed. Personal variables include age, sex, ethnicity, and prior knowledge, and contextual variables include instructor and academic task variables. This section will introduce ego identity status for possible inclusion in SRL research as well. Motivational Constructs Motivation is a requirement for success in college. A meta-analysis of studies that included psychosocial and study skill factors revealed that the best overall predictor of college GPA was self-efficacy, a motivational construct (Robbins, Lauver, Le, Davis, Langley, & Carlstrom, 2004). Other top predictors of academic outcomes were achievement motivation, financial support, academic goals, academic-related skills, and social involvement. This meta-analysis revealed the great importance of motivational constructs, cognitive constructs, and personal/contextual variables for college study. It is interesting to note that three of the top six predictors of GPA were motivational variables. In SRL theory, motivational constructs are mediators. They relate directly to academic outcomes and provide a link to outcomes for personal variables and cognitive

Full document contains 143 pages
Abstract: College matriculation rates are increasing but graduation rates are failing to parallel the increased enrollment. One reason for this discrepancy may be that many college students are unable to regulate their own learning. This dissertation examined the Self-Regulated Learning (SRL; Pintrich, 2004) model in students taking Statistics in Psychology and Research Methods. The inclusion of the constructs of possible selves and identity development in the SRL model was proposed, as was the Achievement Goal Questionnaire (AGQ; Elliot & McGregor, 2001), a measure of the 2x2 Framework of achievement goal orientation. These variables were assessed along with those included in the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ; Pintrich, Smith, Garcia & McKeachie, 1993). Results indicated that possible selves and the AGQ are not useful predictors of the academic outcomes of test grade and expected final grade. Ego identity status, however, was a significant predictor of course outcomes. The best single predictor was self-efficacy for learning from the MSLQ. Multiple regression models accounted for 27-36% of the variance in test grades and 49-67% of the variance in expected final grades. Evaluation of strategy change over the course of a semester revealed that students do adjust their study strategies and motivational beliefs effectively.