Lack of school engagement among adolescents in this country is a serious problem with severe consequences including risk of school dropout, substance use, teenage pregnancy, and criminal behaviour. When students become disengaged in a particular subject, they subsequently produce inferior assignments and sometimes refuse to do any assignment. Academic self-efficacy is an individual’s conviction that he/she can successfully carry out given academic tasks at designated levels. If students feel disengaged with writing and lack academic and writing self-efficacy, then their writing performance suffers, and they thus produce inadequate work. Among other things, this can affect their future performance in college English courses.
With the implementation of the Common Core Standards adopted by most states, the emphasis on critical thinking and writing has become a key component in educational reform measures; however, surprisingly little time is spent in the classroom on writing. Limited writing coupled with apprehension for writing leads some students to resent it and thus accept mediocre assessments on written tasks. Students with high self-efficacy for writing do well on academic writing assignments, but those who possess low writing self-efficacy and self-regulation abilities tend to struggle with writing in the high school environment. Students’ confidence in their writing ability can influence their writing motivation as well as writing outcomes.
Researchers noted that composition plays a critical role throughout the academic curriculum, and his research has consistently shown that writing self-efficacy and performance are related. Students who do not write well are at a disadvantage and are less likely to use writing to support and to extend their learning in other content areas. Little research exists regarding high school students, their writing self-efficacy, and their academic performance. In this review of literature, the topic of self-efficacy and its relationship with student writing will be discussed as well as the research associated with this topic. The theories behind writing self-efficacy and how teachers view students’ self-efficacy will be reviewed in addition to examination of related empirical data and case studies and how the idea of self-efficacy and writing relates to student performance on standardized testing and regular writing in the classroom. Academic achievement, self-regulation theory, modeling, and how these relate to writing and student self-efficacy is discussed.
Researchers defined self-efficacy as personal judgments of performance capabilities in a given domain of activity that may contain predictable and possibly stressful behaviors. Bandura determined that people acquire their self-efficacy beliefs from a variety of information such as accomplishments, vicarious experiences, social interaction, and physiological states. Repeated success raises self-efficacy. When students observe peer academic successes, they may have a vicarious sense of efficacy that they can accomplish a task. Thus, positive persuasive feedback can enhance self-efficacy, but this is apt to be short lived if students continue to perform poorly on academics. Students typically use multiple factors to gauge their level of self-efficacy: perceptions of their abilities, prior successes, perceived task difficulty, amount of effort expended, time persisted, amount of help received, perceived similarity to models, credibility of persuaders, and type and intensity of emotional symptoms.