Ghent University (BELGIUM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 2804-2810
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
The importance of confidence beliefs in academic achievement has long since been acknowledged (Bandura, 1997; Zimmerman, 2000) and researchers have stressed the predictive nature of self-efficacy beliefs for writing achievement (Pajares & Johnson, 1994; Shell, Murphy & Bruning, 1989). Regarding these writing achievements, educators in tertiary education hold certain expectations towards students' writing standard based on students' recent graduation from secondary school, implying their mastery of the writing skills taught and practised there (Flemish Government, 2014). But what are the students’ own self-efficacy beliefs regarding these governmental standards? In addition, at the tertiary level, writing-skills training is dispersed and diverse within the chosen disciplines. Does the tertiary educational system allow for further growth of students' confidence in writing? A total of 376 high school (n=235) and university (n=141) students completed a self-efficacy questionnaire based on a selection of the governmental state standards in Flanders, the Dutch speaking part of Belgium.

The self-efficacy questionnaire dealt with:
(1) documented text,
(2) argumentative text,
(3) planning,
(4) revising,
(5) use of sources and
(6) reflection on writing strategies.

We used an independent samples t-test to compare self-efficacy scores on these 6 items between university and high-school students, and between male and female students. The results show a significant difference between self-efficacy scores of university (M=63.62, SD=15.27) and high school students (M=68.08, SD=15.50) for their self-efficacy beliefs in writing an argumentative text (t(374)=-2.72, p=.007). As for the difference between men (n=132, M=71.52, SD=15.85) and women (n=244, M=67.75, SD=15.85), their self-efficacy beliefs differ in terms of self-efficacy in text revision (t(374)= 2.02, p=.028). There was no significant discrepancy noted for the other statements. The fact that university students display lower self-efficacy beliefs for writing argumentative texts than high school students requires further research. We would expect students in higher education to further develop their writing of argumentative texts and, consequently, increase their self-efficacy beliefs.

[1] Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.
[2] Flemish Goverment (2014, October). Retrieved from secundair-onderwijs/derde-graad/aso/vakgebonden/nederlands/eindtermen.htm.
[3] Pajares, F. M., & Johnson, M. J. (1994). Confidence and competence in writing: The role of writing self-efficacy, outcome expectancy, and apprehension. Research in the Teaching of English, 28, 313–331.
[4] Shell, D. F., Murphy, C. C., & Bruning, R. H. (1989). Self-Efficacy and Outcome Expectancy Mechanisms in Reading and Writing Achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 81(1), 91–100.
[5] Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Self-Efficacy: An Essential Motive to Learn. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 85–91. doi:10.1006/ceps.1999.1016.
Self-efficacy, Tertiary Education, Secondary Education, Argumentative texts.