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An empirical investigation into the sources of students’ mathematics self- efficacy in a Chinese junior high school

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Drawing on Bandura’s (1997) theoretical framework of four hypothesised sources of self-efficacy, the present study investigated how Chinese junior high school students perceive the influence of informational sources on self-efficacy in mathematics. The empirical investigation was guided by the following research questions:

Do a) boys and girls; b) students with high or low self-efficacy undergo different experiences in terms of the four hypothesised efficacy sources? Are the means by which students cognitively process such information different between a) boys and girls; and b) students with high or low self-efficacy? Apart from the four hypothesised sources, is there any other influential information that matters?

Findings demonstrated that girls receive more encouraging messages about their mathematics study than boys, which may have compensated the detrimental effects of stereotype in this male-dominated arena. However, no gender difference was found in terms of the influences of the hypothesised sources. In contrast, findings suggested that participants with high or low self-efficacy not only undergo very different experiences regarding efficacy-relevant information but also hold divergent viewpoints of the efficacy implications of the sources. In addition, factors other than the four sources, such as academic interaction with others, self-regulatory strategies and ‘face’ issues also appeared to be influential to participants’ mathematics self-efficacy in the context of Chinese cultural background.

This talk is part of the FERSA Lunchtime Sessions series.

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