Self-Efficacy as an Engaged Learner

  • Dale H. SchunkEmail author
  • Carol A. Mullen


Student underachievement brought about by low academic motivation is a major factor contributing to school dropout. Motivation affects students’ engagement, or how their cognitions, behaviors, and affects are energized, directed, and sustained during academic activities. According to Bandura’s social cognitive theory, self-efficacy (perceived capabilities for learning or performing actions at designated levels) is a key cognitive variable influencing motivation and engagement. The conceptual framework of social cognitive theory is described to include the roles played by vicarious, symbolic, and self-regulatory processes. We discuss how self-efficacy affects motivation through goals and self-evaluations of progress and how various contextual factors may influence self-efficacy. Research is described that relates self-efficacy to underachievement and dropout. This chapter concludes with programs designed to raise school success and recommendations for future research.


Social Cognitive Theory Performance Goal African American Male African American Student Immigrant Student 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teacher Education and Higher EducationThe University of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural FoundationsThe University of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA

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