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First-Year Students’ Academic Self-Efficacy Calibration: Differences by Task Type, Domain Specificity, Student Ability, and Over Time


This research explored whether academic self-efficacy calibration (the match between self-efficacy beliefs and academic outcomes) in first-year psychology students (n=197) differed as a function of task type (written assignment/multiple-choice exam), domain specificity (task level/subject level), over time (mid-semester/end of semester) and according to student achievement level (high achievers/low achievers). Lower-achieving students were overconfident across both the written assignment and the exam, while higher-achieving students were accurately calibrated on both tasks. The subject-level calibration of lower-achieving students improved between mid-semester and the end of semester (though students remained overconfident). Higher-achieving students’ subject-level calibration remained stable over the semester, and they were about half as overconfident as the lower-achieving students. Both groups of students were more overconfident at subject-level than at task-level overall. On the whole, overconfidence was prevalent, especially for low achievers, and at subject level. Findings suggest that a one-size-fits-all approach to self-efficacy is unlikely to be beneficial for all learners.

Published: 2020-10-20
Pages:109 to 121

Author Biographies

University of Tasmania
Australia Australia

Kate Talsma is a psychological scientist at the University of Tasmania. Kate’s research interests include educational psychology, with a focus on learner beliefs, and psychological well-being, with a focus on mindfulness and positive psychology interventions.

University of Tasmania
Australia Australia

Kimberley Norris is a psychological scientist at the University of Tasmania. Kimberley’s overarching research interest is the maximisation of mental health and well-being, with a particular focus on adaptation and resilience.

University of Bremen
Germany Germany

Benjamin Schüz is Professor of Public Health at the Universität Bremen, Germany. Benjamin is interested in behaviour change interventions and their role in the promotion of health and the prevention of disease. He is co-speaker of the Leibniz ScienceCampus Digital Public Health consortium.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2205-0795