D. Oliveira, G. Esgalhado, D. Oliveira, N. Garcia

University of Beira Interior (PORTUGAL)
Self-efficacy is considered a core aspect of Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory, in which the human being is seen as a self-regulated individual committed to its own development. Academic Self-efficacy increases the commitment to the educational process, so it is important to academic success as a source of increased motivation which positively influences the student’s thoughts, feelings and actions.

This research aimed at adapting and validating a scale of academic self-efficacy for the Portuguese college student population. Method: A total of 707 students who were also internet users participated in this study, 241 male and 466 female, aged between 18 and 40 years old (mean = 22,96, DS = 4,41).

The inclusion criteria for participation in the study were:
(1) being Portuguese and studying in a Portuguese university, and
(2) willingness to participate in the study after knowing its objectives.

Participants were recruited through two sampling methods:
(1) Informal social networks. The eligible internet users who agreed to participate were asked to refer their friends to participate in the study; and
(2) The Internet.

Together with the Academic Self-efficacy Scale (ASES) (Torre-Puente, 2006), a socio-demographic questionnaire was applied, in order to characterize the study’s participants and collected data on participant´s age, gender, grade/post-grade and University/college attendance.

The Cronbach's alpha for the total scale (Portuguese version) was 0.81, and a principal components factor analysis with varimax orthogonal rotation revealed only one factor structure, as found in the original study. With regard to sex, male and female has similar academic self-efficacy. Students with higher academic level showed better results (M=29; SD=9,98) than students with less academic level (M=26,09; SD=10,67 ). The average scores for academic sell-efficacy for the group of older students (22 to 40 years old) was 28,67 (SD=10,55), and 26,59 (SD=10,29) for the group of younger students (18 to 22 years old).

This study provided evidence toward the reliability and validity of the instrument. The scale showed good psychometric characteristics. The reliability analysis demonstrated very good internal consistency and results indicate the ASES is an acceptable measure of academic self-efficacy. As academic self-efficacy has been shown to be the strongest single predictor of college students’ academic achievement and performance (Robbins et al, 2004), it is important to evaluate students’ academic self-efficacy, to make possible an appropriated development and implementation of instructional strategies.