Student Self-Efficacy, Classroom Engagement, and Academic Achievement: Comparing Three Theoretical Frameworks

Abstract

Student self-efficacy, behavioral engagement, and emotional engagement are key factors for academic achievement. Research has yet to identify the developmental cascades linking these four constructs. Three theoretical frameworks, i.e., Self-Efficacy Theory, the Self-System Model of Motivational Development, and Expectancy-Value Theory, suggest different nexus. Following 671 students (51.8% girls) from their 4th to 6th grade, this study aims to assess competing hypotheses from these three frameworks in math. Three cross-lag models were tested to test each theoretical framework. A fourth and final model was tested to include the significant paths from the previous models. Mediation paths were also tested. Results mainly support assumptions from Self-Efficacy Theory, that is student self-efficacy and academic achievement are mutually associated from 4th to 6th grades. Some of the propositions of Expectancy-Value Theory were also supported. Self-efficacy was associated with later emotional engagement and academic achievement. However, emotional engagement in 5th grade was negatively associated with achievement in 6th grade and was not associated with behavioral engagement. Assumptions from the Self-System Model were not supported by the data. Testing the fourth model revealed an unexpected developmental cascade: 5th-grade self-efficacy mediated the association between 4th-grade achievement and 6th-grade emotional engagement. This last finding may have great implications for young adolescents as emotional engagement is an indicator of student well-being and intrinsic value of learning. Implications for theory validation and intervention targets for adolescents are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

References

  1. Archambault, I., & Vandenbossche-Makombo, J. (2014). Validation de l’échelle des dimensions de l’engagement scolaire (ÉDES) chez les élèves du primaire. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 46(2), 275–288.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Arens, A. K., Marsh, H. W., Pekrun, R., Lichtenfeld, S., Murayama, K., & vom Hofe, R. (2017). Math self-concept, grades, and achievement test scores: long-term reciprocal effects across five waves and three achievement tracks. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(5), 621–634.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: the exercice of control. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman and Company.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Baroody, A. E., Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., Larsen, R. A., & Curby, T. W. (2016). A multi-method approach for describing the contributions of student engagement on fifth grade students’ social competence and achievement in mathematics. Learning and Individual Differences, 48, 54–60.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Chouinard, R., Karsenti, T., & Roy, N. (2007). Relations among competence beliefs, utility value, achievement goals, and effort in mathematics. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 77(3), 501–517.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Connell, J. P. (1990). Context, self, and action: a motivational analysis of self-system processes across the life span. In D. Chicchetti & M. Beeghly (Eds.), The self in transition: infancy to childhood (pp. 61–97). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Connell, J. P., & Wellborn, J. G. (1991). Competence, autonomy, and relatedness: a motivational analysis of self-system process. In M. R. Gunnar & L. A. Sroufe (Eds.), Self process and development: the Minnesota symposia on child development (pp. 44–77). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Covington, M. V., & Omelich, C. L. (1985). Ability and effort valuation among failure-avoiding and failure-accepting students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 77(4), 446–459.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 227–268.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Dotterer, A. M., & Lowe, K. (2011). Classroom context, school engagement, and academic achievement in early adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40(12), 1649–1660.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Duncan, G. J., Dowsett, C. J., Claessens, A., Magnuson, K., Huston, A. C., Klebanov, P., & Japel, C. (2007). School readiness and later achievement. Developmental Psychology, 43(6), 1428–1446.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Dupont, S., Galand, B., Nils, F., & Hospel, V. (2014). Social context, self-perceptions and student engagement: a SEM investigation of the self-system model of motivational development. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 12(1), 5–32.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Eccles, J., & Wang, M.-T. (2012). Part 1 commentary: sSo what is student engagement anyway?. In S. L. Chrsitenson, A. L. Reschly, C. Wylie, (eds.) Handbook of research on student engagement. (pp. 133–145). New York, NY: Springer.

  14. Eccles, J. S., Adler, T. F., Futterman, R., Goff, S. B., Kaczala, C. M., Meece, J. L., & Midgley, C. (1983). Expectancies, values, and academic behaviors. In J. T. Spence (Ed.), Achievement and achievement motives: psychological and sociological approaches (pp. 75–146). San Francisco, CA: Freeman.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Eccles, J. S., & Wigfield, A. (2002). Motivational beliefs, values, and goals. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 109–132.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Finn, J. D. (1989). Withdrawing from school. Review of Educational Research, 59(2), 117–142.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). School engagement: potential of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74(1), 59–109.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Freiberger, V., Steinmayr, R., & Spinath, B. (2012). Competence beliefs and perceived ability evaluations: how do they contribute to intrinsic motivation and achievement? Learning and Individual Differences, 22(4), 518–522.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Green, J., Liem, G. A., Martin, A. J., Colmar, S., Marsh, H. W., & McInerney, D. (2012). Academic motivation, self-concept, engagement, and performance in high school: key processes from a longitudinal perspective. Journal of Adolescence, 35(5), 1111–1122.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Guay, F., Marsh, H. W., & Boivin, M. (2003). Academic self-concept and academic achievement: developmental perspectives on their causal ordering. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(1), 124–136.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Hughes, J. N., Luo, W., Kwok, O.-M., & Loyd, L. K. (2008). Teacher-student support, effortful engagement, and achievement: a 3-year longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(1), 1–14.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Janosz, M., Pascal, S., Abrami, P. C., Cartier, S. C., Chouinard, R., Fallu, J.-S., & Desbiens, N. (2010). Rapport final d'évaluation de la Stratégie d’intervention agir autrement. Montréal, Qc: Groupe de recherche sur les environnements scolaires, Université de Montréal.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Ladd, G. W., & Dinella, L. M. (2009). Continuity and change in early school engagement: predictive of children’s achievement trajectories from first to eighth grade? Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(1), 190–206.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Lemieux, A., Besette, L., Dridi, H., Tchimou, M., Boily, M., Gravelle, F., & Lecours, M. (2017). L’organisation de l’éducation au Québec. Montréal, QC.: JDF Éditions.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Leondari, A., & Gialamas, V. (2002). Implicit theories, goal orientations, and perceived competence: impact on students’ achievement behavior. Psychology in the Schools, 39(3), 279–291.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Lewis, A. D., Huebner, E. S., Malone, P. S., & Valois, R. F. (2011). Life satisfaction and student engagement in adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40(3), 249–262.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Li, Y., Lerner, J. V., & Lerner, R. M. (2010). Personal and ecological assets and adolescent academic competence: the mediating role of school engagement. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39(7), 801–815.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Li, Y., & Lerner, R. M. (2013). Interrelations of behavioral, emotional, and cognitive school engagement in high school students. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(1), 20–32.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Little, T. D. (2013). Longitudinal structural equation modeling. New Nork, NY: The Guildford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Marsh, H. W. (1990). Causal ordering of academic self-concept and academic achievement: a multiwave, longitudinal panel analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(4), 646–656.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Marsh, H. W., & Craven, R. G. (2005). A reciprocal effects model of the causal ordersing of self-concept and achievement: new support for the benefits of enhancing self-concept. In: H. W. Marsh, R. G. Craven, D. McInerney, (Eds.) International advances in self research: the new frontiers of self research. (Vol. 2, pp. 15–51). Greenwich, CT: Information Age. .

  32. Marsh, H. W., Pekrun, R., Lichtenfeld, S., Guo, J., Arens, A. K., & Murayama, K. (2016). Breaking the double-edged sword of effort/trying hard: developmental equilibrium and longitudinal relations among effort, achievement, and academic self-concept. Developmental Psychology, 52(8), 1273–1290.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Marsh, H. W., Pekrun, R., Parker, P. D., Murayama, K., Guo, J., Dicke, T., & Arens, A. K. (2018). The murky distinction between self-concept and self-efficacy: beware of lurking jingle-jangle fallacies. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication.

  34. Marsh, H. W., Trautwein, U., Ludtke, O., Koller, O., & Baumert, J. (2005). Academic self-concept, interest, grades, and standardized test scores: reciprocal effects models of causal ordering. Child Development, 76(2), 397–416.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. MELS. (2016). Rapport: diplomation et qualification par commission scolaire au secondaire. Québec, Qc.: Gouvernement du Québec.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Miller, D. T., & Prentice, D. A. (1996). The construction for social norms and standards. In E. T. Higgins & A. W. Kruglanski (Eds.), Social psychology: handbook of basic principles (pp. 799–829). New York, NY: Guildford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Olivier, E., Archambault, I., & Dupéré, V. (2018). Boys’ and girls’ latent profiles of behavior and social adjustment in school: longitudinal links with later student behavioral engagement and academic achievement. Journal of School Psychology, 69, 28–44.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Padilla-Walker, L. M., & Bean, R. A. (2009). Negative and positive peer influence: relations to positive and negative behaviors for African American, European American, and Hispanic adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 32(2), 323–337.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Pagani, L., Tremblay, R. E., Vitaro, F., Boulerice, B., & McDuff, P. (2001). Effects of grade retention on academic performance and behavioral development. Development and Psychopathology, 13(2), 297–315.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Pekrun, R., Lichtenfeld, S., Marsh, H. W., Murayama, K., & Goetz, T. (2017). Achievement emotions and academic performance: longitudinal models of reciprocal effects. Child Development, 88(5), 1653–1670.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40(3), 879–891.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  42. Reschly, A. L., & Christenson, S. L. (2012). Jingle, jangle, and conceptual haziness: Evolution and future directions of the engagement construct. In S. L. Christenson, A. L. Reschly & C. Wylie (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement. New York, NY: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Rodgers, W. M., Markland, D., Selzler, A. M., Murray, T. C., & Wilson, P. M. (2014). Distinguishing perceived competence and self-efficacy: an example from exercise. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 85(4), 527–539.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Schunk, D. H., & Mullen, C. A. (2012). Self-efficacy as an engaged learner. In S. L. Christenson, A. L. Reschly, C. Wylie, (eds.) Handbook of research on student engagement. (pp. 219–236). New York, NY: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Schunk, D. H., & Pajares, F. (2009). Self-efficacy theory. In K. R. Wentzel & A. Wigfield (Eds.), Handbook of motivation at school (pp. 35–54). New York, NY: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Seaton, M., Parker, P., Marsh, H. W., Craven, R. G., & Yeung, A. S. (2013). The reciprocal relations between self-concept, motivation and achievement: juxtaposing academic self-concept and achievement goal orientations for mathematics success. Educational Psychology, 34(1), 49–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Shogren, K. A., Garnier Villarreal, M., Lang, K., & Seo, H. (2017). Mediating role of self-determination constructs in explaining the relationship between school factors and postschool outcomes. Exceptional Children, 83(2), 165–180.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Skinner, E. A., Chi, U., & The Learning-Gardens Educational Assessment. (2012). Intrinsic motivation and engagement as “active ingredients” in garden-based education: examining models and measures derived from Self-Determination Theory. The Journal of Environmental Education, 43(1), 16–36.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Skinner, E. A., & Pitzer, J. R. (2012). Developmental dynamics of student engagement, coping, and everyday resilience. In S. L. Christenson, A. L. Reschly & C. Wylie (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 97–132). New York, NY: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Smith, S. R. (2007). Making sense of multiple informats in child and adolescent psychopathology: a guide for clinicians. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 25(2), 139–149.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Trautwein, U., Ludtke, O., Roberts, B. W., Schnyder, I., & Niggli, A. (2009). Different forces, same consequence: conscientiousness and competence beliefs are independent predictors of academic effort and achievement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97(6), 1115–1128.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Valle, A., Regueiro, B., Nunez, J. C., Rodriguez, S., Pineiro, I., & Rosario, P. (2016). Academic goals, student homework engagement, and academic achievement in elementary school. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1–10.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Véronneau, M.-H., Vitaro, F., Brendgen, M., Dishion, T. J., & Tremblay, R. E. (2010). Transactional analysis of the reciprocal links between peer experiences and academic achievement from middle childhood to early adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 46(4), 773–790.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Viljaranta, J., Tolvanen, A., Aunola, K., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2014). The developmental dynamics between interest, self-concept of ability, and academic performance. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 58(6), 734–756.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Wang, M.-T., & Eccles, J. S. (2012). Adolescent behavioral, emotional, and cognitive engagement trajectories in school and their differential relations to educational success. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 22(1), 31–39.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Weidinger, A. F., Steinmayr, R., & Spinath, B. (2017). Changes in the relation between competence beliefs and achievement in math across elementary school years. Child Development, 89(2), 138–156.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J. S. (2000). Expectancy-value theory of achievement motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 68–81.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Wigfield, A., Eccles, J. S., Fredricks, J. A., Simpkins, S., Roeser, R. W., & Schiefele, U. (2015). Development of achievement motivation and engagement. In R. M. Lerner (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology and developmental science. 7th ed. (pp. 657–700). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  59. Wigfield, A, Eccles, J. S, Schiefele, U, Roeser, R. W., & Davis-Kean, P. (2006). Development of achievement motivation. In: In N. Eisenberg (Ed.) Handbook of Child Psychology: Vol. 3. Social, emotional, and personality development. (pp. 933–1002). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  60. Wigfield, A., Tonks, S., & Klauda, S. L. (2009). Expectancy-value theory. In K. R. Wentzel & A. Wigfield (Eds.), Handbook of motivation at school (pp. 55–76). New York, NY: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.

    Google Scholar 

  61. Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Self-efficacy: an essential motive to learn. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 82–91.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors’ contribution

EO conceived the study, analyzed and interpreted the data, and wrote the manuscript; IA provided the data, participated to the conceptualization of the study, to the analyses, and reviewed the manuscript; MD participated to the revision of the manuscript; BG participated to the conceptualization of the study and reviewed the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding

This research was supported by a grant from the Fonds québécois pour la recherche sur la société et la culture (FRQSC) (#131430), awarded to Isabelle Archambault and by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) (#756-2017-0223), awarded to Elizabeth Olivier.

Data sharing and declaration

The datasets analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request and with permission of Dr. Isabelle Archambault.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to E. Olivier.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study were approved by the ethics committee of the University of Montreal. This research complies with APA’s ethical standards in the treatment of human samples and with the highest ethical standards.

Informed consent

Active informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study, both teachers and students. Parents also gave their active consent for their child to participate.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Olivier, E., Archambault, I., De Clercq, M. et al. Student Self-Efficacy, Classroom Engagement, and Academic Achievement: Comparing Three Theoretical Frameworks. J Youth Adolescence 48, 326–340 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-018-0952-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • Student engagement
  • Self-efficacy
  • Academic achievement
  • Self-Efficacy Theory
  • Self-System Model of Motivational Development
  • Expectancy-Value Theory