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How grit influences high school students’ academic performance and the mediation effect of academic self-efficacy and cognitive learning strategies

Abstract

The present study explored the mechanism of how students’ traits manifest their learning behaviors and academic performance. Participants were 3107 7th grade high school students from a large city in mainland China. A multilayer model was designed wherein grit was at the trait layer, and academic self-efficacy, as well as cognitive learning strategies, were at state and behavior layers. The direct and indirect effects were estimated using a multilevel mediation model with random intercepts and fixed slopes. The current study generated three main findings: First, students with a higher level of the perseverance of effort (one dimension of grit) use cognitive learning strategies more frequently, and the relations between the perseverance of effort and each strategy are slightly different. Second, academic self-efficacy act as a significant mediator in the relationship between perseverance of effort and cognitive learning strategy. Finally, different cognitive learning strategies showed unique or even contrast effects on academic performance, indicating the significance of separating different strategies when considering their relations with performance. Findings of the study could be applied as guidance to educators. Specifically, students’ academic performance is affected by personality traits, academic motivation, and learning behaviors. Therefore, in practice, developing students’ grit (especially perseverance of effort), helping them establish and enhance academic self-efficacy, and teaching them appropriate learning strategies can help with their academic achievement.

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Availability of Data and Material

The datasets generated during and analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Funding

This research was supported by National Key R&D Program of China (2018YFC0810602).

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Original draft writing and data analysis: Liming Jiang; Data collection and resources: Sheng Zhang; Critically revision: Xin Li; Methodology and supervision: Fang Luo. All authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Fang Luo.

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Jiang, L., Zhang, S., Li, X. et al. How grit influences high school students’ academic performance and the mediation effect of academic self-efficacy and cognitive learning strategies. Curr Psychol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-020-01306-x

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Keywords

  • Grit
  • Cognitive learning strategies
  • Academic self-efficacy
  • Academic performance