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Self-regulation and academic performance

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Self-regulation and academic performance
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Terry, Carie
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86 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Academic achievement ( lcsh )
Self-efficacy ( lcsh )
Academic achievement ( fast )
Self-efficacy ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 80-86).
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Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
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by Carie Terry.

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Full Text
SELF-REGULATION AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
by
Carie Terry
B.A., Metro State College of Denver, 2003
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Social Science
Social Sciences
2010


2010 by Carie Terry
All rights reserved


This thesis for the Master of Social Science
Degree by
Carie Terry
Has been approved
By
Candan Duran-Aydintug
3 IV, 2-01 o
Dai


Terry, Carie (M.S., Social Sciences)
Self-Regulation and Academic Performance
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Jim Grigsby
ABSTRACT
There has been much research focus on factors that influence the academic
performance of students. Among other variables considered, it has been found that
high self-efficacy and the capacity for self-regulation appear to play a role in
academic outcomes. However, it is not known whether two specific aspects of self-
regulationgoal setting and self-evaluationcan be taught to students, and whether
they can be successfully learned. Similarly, it has not yet been established whether
these two components of self regulation are associated with an increased level of
academic performance or not. This thesis outlines a proposed quantitative study
that could be conducted to test several hypotheses regarding this issue. It consists of
a literature review, specification of the research questions and hypotheses, the
design of the study, and a proposed approach to data analysis.
Keywords: self-regulation, self-evaluation, self-assessment, self-judgment,
goal setting, goal orientation, goal attainment, academic performance, academic
achievement
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Signed
Jim Grigsby


DEDICATION
I dedicate this thesis to my daughter Amaiya, and to Brandon who is the spark in my
life. Thank you for your constant encouragement, faith, and belief in me and my
dreams. I love you both more than words could express.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT PAGE
I would like to give thanks to those who supported me throughout this arduous
process of researching, learning, growing, refining, and editing. I couldnt have done
it without their guidance, advice, direction and patience. Thank you Dr. Grigsby, Dr.
Duran-Aydintug, and Dr. McKenzie; all three of you were so patient and willing to
spend countless amounts of time reading and rereading this thesis to offer valuable
insights and to help me make it the best possible, a million thanks.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Figures ix
Chapter
1. INTRODUCTION 10
Research topic 10
Purpose of the Study 12
2. LITERATURE REVIEW 13
Self-regulation Characteristics and Definition 13
Value, Purpose, and Need for Self-regulation 15
Influences and Connection to Self-efficacy 17
Connection between Self-regulation and 19
Academic Performance
A Closer Look at Goal Setting and Self-evaluation 25
3. THEORIES 35
Self Determination Theory by Richard Ryan 35
And Edward Deci
Social Cognitive Theory by Albert Bandura 38
Goal setting theory by Gary Latham and Edwin Locke 41
4. RESEARCH HYPOTHESES 45
5. METHODOLOGY 46
Design Overview 46
vii


Sample
47
Intervention and Control Groups 48
Training 50
Data Collection 51
Data Analysis 53
6. CONCLUSION 55
APPENDIX 57
A. MSLQ 57
B. SRL CYCLICAL MODEL 79
C. LONG TERM FOLLOW UP QUESTIONNAIRE 80
REFERENCES 81
viii


FIGURES
FIGURE
1. Self evaluation contributes to learning 31
2. Self Regulated Learning Model (Cyclical SRL Model) 34
IX


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Research Topic
Self-regulation refers to the cognitive aspect of how we control our behavior.
The concept is closely linked, and most often used in tandem with self-efficacy, which
is the belief that one has the capacity to attain certain goals. Self-regulation is
comprised of three main phases: forethought, execution of behavior, and evaluation of
the outcome (Zimmerman, 2008). When we are motivated to implement some
intention, we must plan our approach on both strategic and tactical levels, initiate
some form of goal-directed behavior, and assess our progress toward the goal. The
capacity for self-regulation allows us to use intentions to guide our behavior so that
we can attain goals ranging from very simple through quite complex. Applying self-
regulatory strategies, sometimes coupled with learning strategies in the academia
world, (Zimmerman & Schunk, 1989), enhances our chances for success.
When dealing with students who are academically performing poorly, one
must consider whether they have these regulatory skills, whether such skills have been
taught, and whether the student has a sufficiently high sense of self-efficacy to apply
those skills. My proposed experiment will focus mainly on two aspects of self-
regulation, goal setting and self-evaluation. Before we can look at these two specific
components of self-regulation in depth, we must first gain an understanding of self-
10


regulation in its entirety.
Self-regulated learning is essential for achieving and maintaining successful
academic performance. It has been identified in the social cognitive realm to be
comprised of a number of steps relating to the self. Different theorists name the steps
differently, but most are synonymous to each other.
Behavior theorist Barry Zimmerman argues that self-regulation is directly
linked to human survival and social acceptance. Those who apply self-regulatory
skills achieve success in school, work, and relationships, and have better positive
mental health overall. Characteristics of self-regulation include goal setting, self-
assessment, time management, intervention strategies, perseverance, determination,
resilience, organization, coding, creating a conducive work/study environment,
holding the value of learning, and anticipating outcomes of ones actions to correlate
with ones goals (Schunk & Zimmerman 2008, Zimmerman, 2000). Self-regulation
comes from ones own goals as a reference point and has been defined as, a
complex process by which students activate and sustain cognitions, behaviors, and
affects that are systematically directed toward the attainment of goals (Schunk,
2008, Zimmerman, 2000). Students will become more successful and effective
learners when they implement these necessary self-regulatory skills on a regular and
consistent basis.
11


Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to present information supporting the
dependence between setting goals, self-evaluation and academic performance. Two
case studies, previously conducted, involving academic performance and self-
regulation are described. In both studies academic performance was reported to have
improved due to an increased use of self-regulation. Similarly, I am proposing an
experiment that will test academic performance as the dependent variable, but using
only two specific components of self-regulation. Learning how to use and implement
these strategies regularly may contribute to greater academic success, affect the way
teachers plan and teach on a daily basis, and lead to future studies involving students
and learning in many different environments outside of school.
12


CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
Self-Regulation Characteristics and Definition
Students can be identified as self-regulated learners if they are behaviorally,
meta-cognitively, and motivationally active participants in their own learning
(Zimmerman 1986, Zimmerman & Schunk 1989). Looking at it from a social
cognitive aspect, Zimmerman (2008) concludes that self-regulation comprises three
areas; a) forethought or meta-cognition, b) performance control or monitoring
behavior, and c) self-reflection. The first phase of self-regulation, forethought,
includes the thoughts preceding action, and the thoughts surrounding set up (like goal
setting, or the planning of strategies to use). The next phase, performance control,
involves processes that affect action, such as feedback or social comparisons. The last
phase, self-reflection, involves the time after action, a time for the person to self-
evaluate, and respond to their efforts by reflecting on goal progress and adjusting
strategies, goals, or action plans as needed. Another feedback loop model of self-
regulation presented by Carver and Scheier (1981) also suggests three main pathways
of self-regulation; a) standards, b) monitoring and c) operate phase. Standards
comprise goals, ideals and other possible expected states. Monitoring is the test
phase as Carver and Scheier put it. This is where the person compares their state of
self to that of those standards, goals or ideals that were set in place during the first
13


phase of self-regulation. The final step, the operate phase, includes interventions or
changes in strategy if the test reveals the standards have not been met. These
interventions lead back to the first phase and new goals are set in place to once again
try to obtain the ideal state that is desired, constantly continuing this loop of self-
regulation.
Characteristics of self-regulation have been found to include (Usher &
Pajares, 2007) managing time well, planning and organizing academic work,
controlling the surrounding environment, self-correcting, and monitoring ones' own
attitude. Therefore self-regulated learning involves the individuals active
engagement in controlling their motivation, behavior, and cognition in order to
accomplish goal-directed tasks. Factors that affect the application of that control
could include whether these strategies were taught, whether parents, peers and
teachers support and encourage the student to engage in the frequent use of this
process, and whether there is sufficient autonomy in the environment. If the right
environment is present and students are encouraged to exhibit self-regulatory
behaviors, it seems likely that most students should be capable of taking charge of
their learning, and responding appropriately.
Self-regulated learners are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and
according to Schunk and Zimmerman (1998) they view academic learning as
something they do for themselves rather than as something that is done to or for them.
14


They believe academic learning to be a proactive activity, requiring self initiated
motivational and behavioral processes as well as metacognitive ones (p. 1). When
students intrinsically believe learning is a proactive behavior, they may be more
willing to take on challenging tasks, exhibit greater effort or persistence to accomplish
those tasks, and believe doing so will help them achieve greater academic success.
This subsequent action will then contribute to students possessing a higher sense of
self-efficacy, which is assumed to contribute to a greater capacity for self-regulation.
Students may exhibit part or most of the above mentioned characteristics of self-
regulatory behavior or they may showcase higher achievement due to self-regulation.
Value, Purpose, and Need for Self-Regulation
The need for self-regulation comes from a long researched hierarchy of
needs, presented decades ago by Abraham Maslow. This hierarchy of needs compels
our inner drive to strive for self-actualization and transcendence, the last two levels of
Maslows model (1971). Based on his research and findings, humans are separated
from animals in our ability to project our thoughts into the future. We have the ability
to strive for excellence and make the most of ourselves and our environment. It is this
innate drive that pushes us to have a desire and the motivation to regulate our
behaviors in some form or another. Maslow termed this way of thought, self-
actualization, and he defined it loosely as using our talents, capabilities and potential.
Self-actualization is not only an end state, but also the process of actualizing ones
potentialities at any time, in any amount.. .life is a process of choices (p. 45). We
15


can either choose to progress or regress. It is the moment we desire and choose the
path of growth that we commence the process of self-actualization. Maslow in his last
book, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature (1971), lays out eight behaviors, in
detail, that seem prevalent in working towards self actualization. These behaviors
come out of an internal motivation or desire to continually strive for self-actualization,
which in turn causes the need, value and determination to self-regulate.
Failure to self-regulate can result in irrational, unacceptable social behavior,
and sometimes tragedy. Crime, drug and alcohol abuse, obesity, unwanted
pregnancies, or death due to driving while intoxicated are all examples of failure to
self-regulate. Not all issues that arise from lack of effective self-regulation affect
society, but do affect the individual on some level. Just the inability to accomplish
goals can cause lasting detrimental setbacks mentally and emotionally due to ones
failure to self-regulate. Failure to self-regulate can be classified as misregulation or
underregulation (Baumeister & Heatherton, 1996). Baumeister & Heatherton have
found that misregulation is not the absence of self-regulatory behavior but regulation
due to false assumptions or misdirected efforts that in the end become ineffective in
regulating the self. Underregulation, on the other hand, does not include regulation
but the lack of exerting control, simply because there is no desire to produce an
effective regulatory result. It is uniquely human to have the ability to alter our
responses to outside or incoming stimuli, and it is through the process of self-
regulation that we need to modify and control our behavior. In order to modify and
16


control our behavior we must understand the influences that affect such self-
regulation.
Influences and Connection of Self-regulation to Self-efficacy
There are many influences when it comes to students regulating their
behavior. These influences; parents, teachers, peers, the environment, or the level of
self-efficacy can either have a positive or negative impact on how well students are
able to implement self-regulatory skills. In discussing the many influences upon self-
regulation, self-efficacy must be looked at first. In order for students to be successful,
they must believe they can be. Self-efficacy is the starting block for how well one
performs in any aspect of life, it is seen as a base motivational process and has been
explained as being developed by the way we interpret information (Schunk & Pajares
2001). Bandura states that, self-efficacy refers to beliefs in ones capabilities to
mobilize the motivation, cognitive resources, and courses of action needed to meet
given situational demands (Bandura 1989, p. 8). Being highly efficacious would
favor us to naturally implement self-regulatory behavior in order to perform well in
any situation that arises or to accomplish goals we wanted to achieve, whether those
goals were long term, short term, general or specific.
We exhibit certain characteristics depending on the level of our sense of
efficacy, according to Zimmerman and Schunk (1994). If we have high self-efficacy
we will exhibit high motivation, being committed, being drawn to challenges, taking
great initiative, being more resilient, maintaining persistence when encountering
difficulties, and being highly adaptive. Whereas possessing a low sense of efficacy
17


would showcase through avoidance of challenging tasks, often feeling threatened,
avoiding adversity, less commitment to goals, low effort and persistence when
encountering difficulty, and exuding despair when needing to adapt or be resilient.
Albert Bandura saw our sense of efficacy as developed by four control factors; a)
vicarious experiences (learning by watching others), b) performances (our own
accomplishments), c) social persuasions, and d) physiological reactions (how our
bodies physically react to situations) (Gekas 1989 p.300). It is by interpretation of
this incoming stimulus that we develop an idea of our capabilities. Not to be
confused with other self constructs, self-efficacy "always refers to task specific
capacity" (Gist and Mitchell 1992 p.l 85). Due to its connection with task specific
domains, self-efficacy can change, increase or decrease based on learning
experiences, and feedback (Gist and Mitchell 1992).
Self-efficacy is an important cognitive motivational self process which is
often the basis for implementing self-regulation. "Self-efficacy has been shown to
influence both level and goal commitment, it influences an individuals initial choice
of activities or tasks and his or her coping efforts while engaged in these tasks, and
self-efficacy influences the interpretation of feedback and affective reactions to the
task" (Gist and Mitchell 1992 p. 186). Having a high sense of being effective will not
only influence a student to fearlessly choose a wide variety of activities but it will
also allow the student to exhibit regulatory behavior that will help him/her become
more academically successful.
18


Connection Between Self-regulation and Academic Performance
Academic performance is highly associated, as a dependent variable, with
self-regulation (Schunk and Pajares 2001). How one perceives they will do
academically will most likely showcase in the academic outcomes, which is why
feeling highly efficacious lends one to implementing behavior regulation in order to
academically perform successfully. "The perception of progress strengthens self-
efficacy and motivates students to continue to improve...students who believe they
have the means for performing successfully is apt to feel efficacious about doing so"
(Schunk and Pajares 2001 p. 15), and therefore will exhibit characteristics of self-
regulation such as; completion of homework, planning and setting goals to be
successful, putting forth effort, not giving up easily despite challenging tasks and
applying continual self assessment (Usher and Pajares 2007). There are outside
factors that will either hinder or encourage the use of regulation to improve academic
performance. These factors include; external and internal motivation, the orientation
of the set goals (whether learning or outcome/performance goals), external feedback,
mastery models vs. coping models, type of attributions, verbalization and the
students perception of their ability to do the tasks at hand. Once these factors have
been directed to support the implementation of the above named characteristics, a
student can exhibit self regulation.
To measure and test self-regulation as it was defined by a collective of
theorists at a symposium in 1986, a number of instruments were created
(Zimmerman 2008). Three in particular are explained in detail below.
19


1. The Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) (Weinstein, Schulte
& Palmer 1987). This is an 80 item self report inventory that students fill out
themselves regarding their strategies used during study practices. The LASSI
involves ten scales that assess skill, will and self regulation strategies. Subscales
under these include concentration, selecting main ideas, information processing,
motivation, attitude, anxiety, time management, study aids, self testing and test
strategies (Zimmerman 2008 pg 167-168).
2. The Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) (Pintrich,
Smith, Garcia & McKeachie, 1993). This questionnaire is an 81 item broken down
into two major headings; learning strategies and motivation. The learning strategies
heading is divided into two sections; a) cognitive meta-cognitive and b) resource
management. Cognitive meta-cognitive encompasses questions on rehearsal,
elaboration, organization, critical thinking, and meta-cognitive self-regulation.
Resource management encompasses questions on managing time, the study
environment, effort management, peer learning and seeking help. The other heading,
motivation, is divided into 3 sub sections a) valuing b) expectancy and c) affect.
Valuing contains questions regarding intrinsic-extrinsic goal orientation and task
value. Expectancy contains questions regarding self-efficacy and control of learning,
and lastly the affect section revolves around test anxiety (Zimmerman 2008).
3. Self-Regulated Learning Interview Scale (SRLIS) (Zimmerman &
Martinez-Pons, 1986, 1988). Unlike the last two, which were student self report
questionnaires; this SRL measuring instrument involves a structured interview.
20


During this interview, the student is presented with six problem contexts to which
they must respond. Their answers are then coded into 14 self-regulatory categories
that focus on motivation, meta-cognition or behavior. Under motivation, the sub
topics include self-evaluation reactions and self consequences. Meta-cognition
includes sub topics as goal setting and planning, organizing and transforming,
seeking information, and rehearsing and memorizing. Included under the behavior
category are the sub topics of environmental structuring; keeping records and
monitoring; reviewing texts, notes, and tests; and seeking assistance from peers,
teachers and parents (Zimmerman 2008).
These instruments were and still are used to measure self-regulation and the
use of self-regulated strategies. Now that self-regulation can be measured, theorists
wanted to see if it does in fact positively correlate to an improvement in academic
performance. Barry Zimmerman discusses at length in one of his articles published
by the American Educational Research Journal, Investigating Self-Regulation and
Motivation: Historical Background, Methodological Developments, and Future
Prospects, two studies that taught SRL processes and their findings.
The first study was conducted in 2006 by Schmitz and Weise (Zimmerman
2008 pg 173). They studied a sample of civil engineering students at a university in
Germany for five weeks. The study was based on the Self-Regulated Cyclical Model
from Zimmerman and et al (1996), and included an experimental group and a control
group. Both the control and the experimental group were given a pre test and a post
test consisting of a questionnaire to measure each students aptitude of self-
21


regulation. Besides the pre and post test, the experimental group was also given
weekly 2 hour intervention training sessions, focusing on self-regulatory processes
(such as goal setting, time management, planning, cognitive motivation, behavioral
motivation, self-evaluation and concentration). Each weekly session focused on one
or two of those self-regulatory processes in depth. To aid in this study, self-regulated
learning diaries were instituted to have the students keep a record of their thoughts,
behaviors, and their learning progress throughout this intervention experiment. The
diaries asked the students questions regarding the before, during and after phases of
any circumstances dealing with class (i.e. in class time, material covered, homework,
studying, etc) and were collected at the end of each week.
At the end of the study, Schmitz and Weise, analyze their findings. They
first compared the pre and post test questionnaires of both groups. The students who
belonged in the experimental group and who received the intervention training
sessions showed significant improvements on their post test in the following areas;
intrinsic studying motivation, self-efficacy, effort, attention, self-motivation,
handling distractions, and procrastination. The students in the control group only
showed an improvement in self-motivation (Zimmerman 2008 pg 174). Schmitz and
Weise secondly analyzed the diaries for week to week comparisons regarding
increased use of self-regulatory behavior. They found that there was a significant
increase of, self-efficacy, positive affect, personal understanding, and satisfaction
(Zimmerman 2008 pg 174). They also saw an improvement week to week following
the training sessions. That after training of a specific self-regulatory behavior the
22


students increased their use of that such behavior or decreased as was the case in the
aspect of procrastination. It was interesting to note that the control group starkly
contrasted with the experiment group in that they exhibited virtually no changes of
using self regulation strategies between the pre and the post test. To sum up the
study, Schmitz and Weise stated, Although this study did not include measures of
academic achievement, it did show that college students who were trained in SRL
processes were effective in reaching the study goals that they set for themselves
(Zimmerman 2008 pg 174).
The second study was done by Stoeger and Ziegler in 2007 and consisted of
elementary students in Germany. This study used the same pre and post test
measures and used the same SRL diary measures as the previous study over a five
week period. Within this study though, the 4th grade teachers were directly involved
in the teaching of the SRL processes during mathematical instruction. The same set
up occurred with a control group and an experimental group, with the teachers being
randomly assigned to a group. The teachers, who were in the experimental group,
received training on how to teach SRL processes and how to help students implement
them while doing math. In the end, similar results to the previous study were found.
The students in the experimental group reported, significantly greater increases in
time management skill and self-reflection on their learning...and they also displayed
increases in several measures of motivation. Their willingness to exert effort, their
task interest, their learning-goal orientation, and their perceptions of self-efficacy all
increased after this training (Zimmerman 2008 pg 175). Stoeger and Ziegler also
23


found that the students in the self-regulation training experiment group did exhibit
greater math achievement than those students who were in the control group. And
that all students in the training group passed an entrance exam for a higher level
school, which was, an increase of 50% compared to past cohort groups of students
(Zimmerman 2008 pg 175). Not only did the students in the experimental training
group show greater math gains, but their homework and quiz scores over the five
weeks showed improvement. Zimmerman sums up their findings as such; Stoeger
and Ziegler reported that, the training group compared to the control group
displayed significant increases in homework effectiveness, time management skill, a
broad array of self-reflection measures and math performance skill (Zimmerman
2008 pg 175). This study conclusively showed that the intervention of successfully
learning self-regulation will improve academic performance specifically regarding
scores, and that other necessary self-regulatory skills can be implemented to help
students become successful learners.
These studies are just two examples of how academic performance is
correlated and could be a direct dependent variable to the successful learning and
application of self-regulation as a whole.
A Closer Look at Goal Setting and Self-evaluation
Now that we have discussed self-regulation entirely, and seen two case
studies connecting it to an increase in academic performance, lets delve into the first
and last branches of self-regulatory behavior. Goal setting is the leader of self-
24


regulation, because of its motivational connection to ones purpose it is viewed as
the effective initial component of self regulated behavior (Lemos 1999, p. 472).
Lemos (1999) points out, goals serve two very important functions; they direct and
they monitor. Established goals direct our behavior, in such that they are an end
for us to plan and work towards. They also monitor our behavior by naturally
creating standards of what to measure our behavior against. Everyone has heard of
setting goals and most have set goals at some point in their life, but few understand
all that it involves in order to truly be effective. There is a process and many facets
to goal setting that can either push a student towards greater academic achievement
or keep a student in the realm of mediocre performance. These facets, according to
Lemos (1999) and Locke & Latham (1991) can include; goal orientations, goal
specificity, goal difficulty, level of goal internalization, and goal commitment.
Brown and Latham (2006) cite earlier work by Locke (2000) and Locke & Latham,
himself, (1990) that goal setting assumes two main things: a) the individual has the
skill set and required knowledge to perform the task and b) setting the goal will
unlock this specific ability and knowledge. If an individual is presented with or
establishes a goal of which they do not possess the needed ability and knowledge to
accomplish such goal, it can actually have a reverse negative affect on the individual.
Goal setting is only effective after the person interprets the information and
integrates the sequencing of motor and cognitive processes for performing the task
effectively (Brown & Latham, 2006). Once the two named assumptions have been
confirmed, the individual can then begin the journey through the five facets of goal
25


setting.
Goals fill our day, from small unintentional ones to thought out and
purposeful ones. Each situation in effect, comes from asking ourselves what type of
end result we want to encounter. This thought process leads us to choose if we want
to achieve something or learn something, what is our goal of orientation? Goal
orientations are attributed to simply that of learning or performing. A learning goal
is characterized by an individual or student striving to improve their competency,
whereas a performance goal is directly tied to an individual seeking to demonstrate
high capability (Lemos, 1999). When one sets a learning goal, they value learning
and they rely on effort to accomplish the goal. The process of attaining a learning
goal will more often showcase self-regulatory behavior from the individual. On the
flip side, an individual who sets a performance goal will strictly focus on the
outcome and is less likely to be interested in the needed effort to attain the set goal.
Both goal orientations have positive and negative connotations individually, but
together they complement the goal setting process. Each situation is different and
both types of goal orientations are necessary for us to progress in life. Once one has
decided whether they want to achieve or learn something in a particular situation
then that person can specify the exact goal they want to accomplish.
Goal specificity can range from the very vague to the very specific. One
might say, I am going to go for a walk, which is a pretty vague goal and it could be
26


accomplished by going out the front door and walking two car lengths or walking to
the end of the block. On the other hand, one could be more specific and state I am
going to walk for two miles, which can only be accomplished one waywalking the
two miles. Different situations may require different levels of goal specificity, but it
relates directly to the level of difficulty. Locke and Latham (1991) state
approximately 400 studies have shown the more difficult the goal, the higher the
performance. Now if we go back and agree with Brown, Latham and Locke and
confirm the person has the ability and knowledge to accomplish this task and that
setting the goal will release the ability and knowledge to do so, then we could
conclude that the first stated goal is vague and would most likely take minimum
effort and therefore result in a minimum amount of excitement or feelings of
accomplishment. The specificity and difficulty of a goal go hand in hand with
performance and feelings of achievement. When a difficult, yet attainable, goal is
established; the student or individual will exhibit more effort and persistence to
accomplish the goal than they would if it was an easy goal. Latham and Locke
(1991) also found that having a difficult, yet vague goal will not produce as high
performance as compared to having a challenging and specific goal. Lower effort
and performance is often paralleled with vague goals, despite it being a difficult goal,
because there are many different outcomes that are plausible. A challenging but
vague goal, such as a try hard or do your best leaves the interpretation of
expectation in the hands of the student and therefore becomes very subjective and
ambiguous. Once the set goal has met the specific and difficult requirement, it then
27


needs to be evaluated for personal attachment or in other words; goal internalization.
Lemos (1999) found students with unintentional goals (i.e. goals given by the teacher
for students to accomplish) having lower levels of personal investment. This will
have an effect on their ability to self-regulate, their motivation level, and weakness of
them internalizing the goal.
A lack of internalizing and having personal investment in accomplishing the
goal will result in less effort and goal commitment. Andrew Li and Adam Butler
discuss goal commitment in an article they presented at a conference in 2003. Goal
commitment is characterized by determination to expend effort towards a goal over
time (Hollenbeck & Klein 1987), and without it, individuals are more likely to
abandon their goal in the face of difficulties (Latham & Locke 1990). (p. 1). Going
through this process for goal setting helps ensure the right goals are established for
each particular situation and ability of the individual, but wanting to achieve the goal
doesnt always end with goal commitment. Constant self-evaluation is needed to
stay on the right track for accomplishing goals.
Self-evaluation, also known by a few different terms; self-reflection, self-
reaction, or self-assessment, as the last construct of self-regulated behavior is simply
an assessment of yourself against the goal you set. Research indicates, Self-
evaluation plays a key role in fostering an upward cycle of learning (Rolheiser &
28


Ross 2001). Self-evaluation is needed to further progress one toward success. If a
student evaluates whether the stated goal was met, he/she can take the appropriate
steps and set another goal. If the evaluation finds the goal was not met, he/she can
evaluate why and implement different strategies and interventions that will lead them
to goal completion. Goal completion will increase the students self-efficacy, which
will in turn increase their desire to work harder, strive for higher performance, set
more specific and more difficult goals, and be persistent in order to obtain another
goal. Positive self-evaluation of performance will encourage the student to be
motivated to continue on the upward cycle of learning which includes goals, effort,
achievement, self-evaluation and self-reaction (Rolheiser & Ross, 2001). Self-
evaluation of goals and goal attainment contributes to producing a more successful
learner and greater academic achievement. Rolheiser and Ross (2001) created a
cycle from their found research showcasing how self-evaluation contributes to
learning (p. 2).
29


Figure 1: Self evaluation contributes to learning
GOALS EFFORT

ACHIEVEMENT
1
Rolheiser and Ross also found that it is a necessity for teachers to be
involved with students and teach them how to self-evaluate effectively (2001). They
have also discovered some specific benefits for students to self-evaluate and the great
positive effect self-evaluation has on academic achievement. The three main benefits
that they have showcased with students applying self-evaluation are first, cognitive
30


achievement, i.e. narrative writing skills (Ross et al, 2000). Having the skills to self-
evaluate has helped students become better writers. Second, includes the area of
motivation. Students, who have been taught how to self-evaluate, take greater
responsibility for their work and therefore are more motivated to continue and persist
on a task even if a difficult challenge arises. And third, the students attitude tends to
become more positive towards the assessment when they themselves are involved in
the evaluation process. Rolheiser and Ross (2001) have pinpointed some specific
self-evaluation techniques that seem to have a profound effect on academic
achievement. These techniques must consist of procedures that provide explicit
criteria, procedures that allow students to be involved in the decision making for
creating the assessment, procedures that elicit cognitive responses from the students
about their performance, and procedures that quantify the students goals. Ross and
Rolheiser also, in this article (2001), provide argument that supports the positive
correlation between teaching students how to effectively self-evaluate and improving
their academic performance. These researchers state that if students learn how to
effectively self-evaluate, they will learn more because 1) they will be more focused
on the required objectives, 2) the self-evaluation from the students, gives the teacher
useful tools (that they would otherwise not have/know) to help the students, 3)
students will pay more attention to the assessment if they are the ones responsible for
it and 4) students will be more motivated (p. 6).
Rolheiser and Ross (2001) point to other theorists supportive research
31


regarding self-evaluation and academic achievement. Locke (et al 1981), theorizes
setting goals is positively correlated to performance. Bandura (1997) and Schunk
(1995), write that self-evaluation has an indirect connection to academic achievement
by way of self-efficacy. Pajares (1996) supports that high self-efficacy translates
into higher achievement.
Positive self-evaluations lead to a higher sense of self, which then leads to
being more encouraged to set higher and more challenging goals and this then leads
to a higher level of commitment to persist in accomplishing those goals.
The self-regulated learning model, also known as the Cyclical SRL Model
by Zimmerman, Bonner & Kovach 1996, shows how self-evaluation continues the
cyclical model of implementing self-regulation.
Figure 2: Self Regulated Learning Model (Cyclical SRL Model)


Self reaction
Self evaluation
Forethought Phase:
Goal setting
Task analysis
Self motivation
beliefs
Performance Phase:
Self control
Self observation
Time management
Goal setting and self-evaluation create the bookends of self-regulatory
behavior. Will a students GPA improve if he/she learns how to effectively
implement these two specific constructs of self-regulation?
33


CHAPTER 3
THEORIES
Self Determination Theory by Richard Ryan and Edward Deci
Edward Deci began research regarding human motivation in the 1970s and
with Richard Ryan; both came up with the Self Determination Theory in the mid
1980s. This theory is an approach to human motivation and encompasses three
internal components; a) competence, b) autonomy, and c) relatedness (Deci and Ryan
2000 p. 68), which all lead to three important outcomes; motivation, self-regulation,
and the impact on health and well-being by having these psychological needs
fulfilled (Deci and Ryan 2000 p. 69). Delving into self determination theory, Deci
and Ryan found that the base of human action derives from motivation.
The nature of motivation involves energy, direction, and persistence. All of
which are aspects of intention and activation; and motivation is the core of
biological, cognitive, and social regulation (Deci and Ryan 2000 p. 69). Deci and
Ryan describe many studies that have been conducted to compare motivation. Those
whose motivation is authentic, self authored and self endorsed are much more
persistent, creative, exhibit enhanced performance, heightened vitality and self
esteem and have greater overall well-being than those who are externally controlled
or motivated by external sources only. A major focus of self determination theory is
to look at the different types of motivation that are exhibited in differing situations.
SDT has identified several prominent types of motivation namely; a) intrinsic
34


motivation b) self-regulation of extrinsic motivation c) facilitating the integration of
extrinsic motivation and d) alienation and its prevention. An individuals exhibition
of these types of motivation stem from his/her internal level of those three base
components; competence, autonomy, and relatedness.
According to SDT, these different motivations reflect differing degrees to
which the value and regulation of the requested behavior have been internalized and
integrated...internalization refers to peoples taking in a value or regulation and
integration refers to the further transformation of that regulation into their own so
that subsequently, it will emanate from their sense of self (Deci and Ryan 2000 p.
71). A persons sense of self reflects ones feelings of competence, how related they
feel towards others, and the amount of autonomy they feel they have over the
particular situation. Within SDT, Deci and Ryan also created a continuum model
showcasing the three types of motivation; a) a-motivation, b) extrinsic motivation
and c) intrinsic motivation. Under each type of motivation are styles of regulatory
behavior, the perceived locus of causality, and the relevant regulation process. As
feelings of competence, autonomy, and relatedness increase, the individuals
motivation will transition from a state of a-motivation to intrinsic motivation (2000
p. 72, see each outlined below).
35


A-MOTIVATION:
*exercising no regulation
*very impersonal, the person lacks the intention to act, does not value an
activity and does not expect to accomplish a desired result
EXTRINSIC MOTIVATION:
*can include regulation stemming from external factors
*typically this regulation is to avoid guilt, punishment or anxiety
*it is identified regulation where the individual accepts the goal as somewhat
personal and sees some value and importance in it
*it can also have some integrated regulation that is internal with awareness
and accepted regulation as being congruent with the persons needs and
values.
INTRINSIC MOTIVATION:
*stems from intrinsic regulation
*comes from an internal locus of causality
*this regulation comes about due to a sincere interest, enjoyment, and
satisfaction in accomplishing the goal
*this is the greatest form of autonomy
After years of conducting research and having been exposed to many
36


different cultures worldwide, Deci and Ryan found that it is a universal human need
to fulfill such basic needs. It is this research that they base Self Determination
Theory upon. Whether it be a psychological or physiological need.. .a basic need is
an energizing state that if satisfied conduces toward health and well-being, but if not
satisfied contributes to pathology and ill-being...thus the proposed basic need for
competence, autonomy and relatedness must be satisfied across the life span for an
individual to experience an ongoing sense of integrity and well-being (Deci and
Ryan 2000 p. 75). These basic human needs are the motivating factors that drive
most of us to be determined, set goals, self-evaluate and strive for growth in order to
experience a state of well being.
Social Cognitive Theory by Albert Bandura
Social Cognitive Theory is the background support for research on self-
efficacy and self-regulation. This theory came about back in 1941 with Miller and
Dollard conducting preliminary research on the cognitive self. Then in 1963 Albert
Bandura and Richard Walters expanded upon the conception of social learning in his
book Social Learning and Personality Development. By the mid 1970s Bandura
was realizing that key elements were missing from his social learning theory, the
elements of self beliefs. To capture the important dynamic of self beliefs, Bandura
published Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory
in 1986. Pajares (2002) gives a very quick and concise overview of some of
Banduras main points of theory from his book. Pajares states that Bandura theorizes
37


within human functioning there is a continuum cycle that aids humans in changing
and adapting, a cycle he deemed reciprocal determinism (2002, p.l). Reciprocal
determinism is the concept that personal factors, behaviors and the environment all
interact and play off of each other creating a triangle of reciprocity. It was around
this time that Bandura added cognitive to his social theory to emphasize the use of
cognition in human behavior.
Banduras social cognitive theory with introspective and self belief elements
stands in stark contrast against other behaviorist theories due to their minimum
interest in self processes (Pajares 2002). Bandura also believes humans are
individual agents that are not only products of their environment but producers as
well, therefore each individual has the capability to exercise control over their
feelings, thoughts and actions (Bandura 1986). His social cognitive theory notes that
we possess control over ourselves, therefore outside influences such as economic
conditions or socioeconomic status, does not directly affect our behavior, but they do
affect our ability to self-regulate and our self-efficacy.
Two other theorists, Barry Zimmerman and Dale Schunk (1989), have found
Banduras theory to be closely connected and very supportive of self-regulated
learning. Self-regulation requires the individual to instigate, modify and maintain
goal directed activities spawning from his/her cognitive processes. This way, the
student truly becomes an active participant and a producer of their learning; which
includes the setting, following through and accomplishing of goals (1989).
38


Embedded within Banduras social cognitive theory is what he deems as five
fundamental human capabilities, the abilities we possess that clearly make us human
(Bandura, 1986). Those are:
1. Symbolize: including language abilities
2. Engage in forethought: to think ahead, plan and organize for future
events
3. learn through vicarious experiences: learning by watching other
individuals behavior
4. self-regulate: to monitor our behavior in order to obtain desired
results
5. self-reflect: to evaluate our own actions against set standards
These five human capabilities cognitively set us apart from all other species
and allow us the choice to learn, grow and better ourselves.
Adding to these five capabilities is our sense of self-efficacy beliefs, which
lies at the core of Banduras social cognitive theory. Self-efficacy is the belief we
have in ourselves to attain accomplishments in specific domains. It provides the
foundation for human motivation, well being, and personal
accomplishment.. .(touching) virtually every aspect of peoples lives whether they
think productively, self debilitating, pessimistically or optimistically; how well they
motivate themselves and persevere in the face of adversities; their vulnerability to
stress and depression and the life choices they make (Pajares 2002 p.4). Along with
39


influencing life choices people make, self-efficacy influences the amount of effort
extended, thought patterns created, and emotional reactions, and it is also a critical
determinant of self-regulation.
Bandura theorizes people are cognitively active agents regarding their own
motivation levels. It is through this desire and ones own perceived sense of efficacy
that will stir motivation to self-regulate in order to achieve that which they would
like to know. Using standards as guideline tools, individuals can gauge (Bandura
1986, p. 48) their capabilities and through cognitive comparison, individuals can
decipher where they are at and where they need or want to get to. As these goals or
standards are met, students will gain an understanding of their cognitive efficacy.
The student will also gain self satisfaction, their self-efficacy will rise and therefore
they will be more internally motivated to exert more effort, set higher standards for
themselves and try and master more challenging goals.
Goal Setting Theory by Gary Latham and Edwin Locke
Goal setting is a basic part of us being human in order to fulfill the internal
need to find purpose. Human beings possess a higher form of consciousness, the
capacity to reason.. .and we have the power to conceptualize goals and set long range
purposes (Latham & Locke 1991). It is from many years of research that Latham
and Locke created this goal setting theory of which the main domain revolves around
purposefully directed action. Goals motivate action, so if goals motivate action, then
setting goals direct our behavior to accomplish that action. The orientation of goals
is therefore important because it gives voice to our goals; whether we are more
40


concerned with learning during a process or with performance and action outcomes.
The two main orientations of goals are that of learning and performance. Latham
and Locke focused the majority of their research on the performance orientation of
goals, under which are two attributes; content and intensity. Content involves
difficulty and specificity, whereas intensity involves commitment. Locke and
Latham describe goals as being easy, moderate, difficult or impossible. Difficulty is
a concept of relationship; it pertains to the relationship between a person and a task
or goal (Locke and Latham 1991 pg 214). Research has also found that given
adequate ability, the performance outcome matches the goal difficulty, and that
people often naturally adjust their effort level to match the difficulty level of the goal
i.e. trying harder with harder goals and taking a more lackadaisical stance with easier
goals.
A second finding that Latham and Locke mention regarding goal content is
dealing with specificity and that specific goals more often lead to higher levels of
performance. Lower effort and performance is often paralleled with vague goals
because there are many different outcomes that are plausible with less specific goals.
Thus maximum effort is not aroused under a do best goal. This is because
ambiguity inherent in doing ones best allows people to give themselves the benefit
of the doubt in evaluating their performance. From the standpoint of self-regulation,
a specific hard goal clarifies for the person what constitutes effective performance
(Locke and Latham 1991 pg 215). People with very specific goals show less in
41


performance variation that those with vague goals, due to the individuals own
perception of an ok outcome of a vague goal. For example, setting a goal to go for a
run could mean five blocks for one person and five miles for another person. Yet the
specific goal of going for a four mile run leaves no room for the individuals
interpretation, and performance has to be weighed against those four miles.
The second attribute of goal orientation is intensity; Intensity refers to the
scope, clarity, mental effort, etc. involved in a mental process (Locke and Latham
1991 pg 216). When looking at intensity, much research has been focused on the
aspect of ones commitment to a goal. Commitment is determined by the degree of
attachment one has to the goal and the desire to reach it despite any roadblocks, set
backs or obstacles that may get in the way. Commitment to goals must be high;
otherwise it is easier to give up when the goal/task becomes difficult. People who
are less committed to their goals will likely give up their hard goals in favor of easier
ones when obstacles do pop up. A good way to enhance goal commitment is to
stress possibility and importance (Locke and Latham 1991 pg 218); that achieving
the goal is possible and that doing so is important.
Raising the belief that goal achievement is possible raises ones self-efficacy
and that will lead to a stronger commitment to the goal. With increased self-efficacy,
we are once again back at the beginning of the continuum cycle of motivation, and
one will continue to set goals to regulate their behavior.
42


43


CHAPTER 4
Research Hypotheses
1) Relative to control subjects, GPA of those students who receive the
intervention will increase and 2) comparing the groups; the introduction of
the intervention will reflect higher scores in the MSLQ at time of
intermediate and long term follow up.
Research attention has been given to self-regulation and student academic
performance, both independently and together. Self-regulation is a cognitive
process, often working in tandem with self-efficacy and is attached to our level of
motivation. Even though it is a cognitive process, people must be shown how to
implement these specific skills and strategies in order to effectively self-regulate on a
daily basis and within all realms of life.
I present a proposed experiment and two hypotheses that if students are
taught how to properly implement goal setting and self-evaluation then 1) the
dependent variable of academic performance, their GPA, will improve and 2) the
post MSLQ answers will reflect more positive self affirmations as compared to the
MSLQ during the pre test.
CHAPTER 5
44


METHODOLOGY
Design Overview
I am proposing a true field experiment. This true field experiment supports
external generalizability by being conducted in a students natural environment,
simulating real life at school. The internal validity will be a little harder to ensure on
all avenues because I am dealing with students in a real life situation. Many things
could come up; diffusion between groups, students getting sick and missing school,
or a student just having a bad day are a few of the many, many situations that could
arise to throw off how the intervention is taken in. I can attempt to create a method
design that could possibly plan for or avoid some situations, but it would be
impossible to know of all things that could happen during a field experiment.
Ill attempt to recruit 100 students and randomly assign half to an attention
placebo control group and half to an intervention group. Both groups will participant
in a controlled environment for two hours a week on the same day and at the same
time, with a trained teacher giving instruction. The attention placebo control group
will be given instruction on current events, while the intervention group will be given
instruction on how to effectively implement goal setting and self evaluation. Both
groups will be tested before intervention, at intermediate follow up which will be the
end of the first semester, and at long term follow up which will occur at the end of
the second semester. This field experiment is designed to present GPA and an MSLQ
45


questionnaire as dependent variables and the intervention of goal setting and self
evaluation as independent variables. It will test the following hypotheses: 1) relative
to control subjects, GPA of those students who receive the intervention will increase
and 2) comparing the groups; the introduction of the intervention will reflect higher
scores in the MSLQ at time of intermediate and long term follow up.
Sample
The sampling frame will consist of students recruited from an ethically
diverse population at South High School, a local high school within the Denver
Public School District. Before contacting the school, I will go through the correct
procedures and obtain permission from the HIRB and also the DPS school board to
conduct such an experiment at the school. Once I have gained permission from all
involved parties I will obtain a list of student ID numbers (eliminating names) of all
9th-12th grade mainstream students. Given the lack of research on this topic it is not
possible to get an accurate effect size estimate, so power calculations are not feasible
at this time. I propose to select 10% or 100 of the student population (whichever is
less) to be the participants in this experiment. Parental permission and student assent
will be required from all selected participants before the experiment will begin. The
student ID numbers will be randomly assigned using a computer algorithm to two
equal groups, eliminating predictive bias.
Intervention and Control Groups
46


The first group will receive the intervention by a trained teacher, in the
detailed lesson plan described below, over eight weeks for an hour every Tuesday
and Friday at 10:30am.
Week 1:
Week 2:
Week 3:
Week 4:
Week 5:
Self-motivation; types of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation
Overview of Self-efficacy
Overview of Self-regulation; Cyclical SRL model
Introduction to goal setting and self-evaluation
Continue overview of goal setting and self-evaluation; attention and
effort
Handling distractions and roadblocks
Goal-Setting; difficult/easy, specific/vague goals
Goal orientations; learning and performance
Goal internalization and commitment; short and long term goals
47


Week 6:
Self-evaluation; effect of positive/negative self-assessments
Self-evaluation intervention strategies; time management, goal
progress, etc
Week 7:
After self-evaluation; re-establish new goals and new direction
Continue above lesson
Week 8:
Effectiveness of correct goal setting and self-evaluation
Revisit Cyclical SRL model, changes in study effectiveness and
student success
The second group, known as the attention placebo control group will also
meet with a trained teacher on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10:30am for an hour, but
they will not receive the intervention. Instead they will receive attention control by
discussing current events. A new topic will be selected for every session, with the
placebo teacher introducing the topic and then leading a discussion while
encouraging students to participate.
At the end of the semester:
Week 16: (Intermediate follow-up)
Give both groups the MSLQ as a post test
Second SemesterWeek 16: (long term follow-up)
48


Collect grades from the school for all students in both groups;
organize all collected data and conduct a t test to assess and analyze
data.
Conduct MSLQ questionnaire to students in both groups
Survey both groups with the long term follow-up questionnaire
The Training
Intervention and data collection will be implemented by trained personnel,
so as principal investigator I will be blinded to group assignments. For the
intervention there will be two types of trainers; those who implement the intervention
to the experimental group and those who implement a placebo intervention by way of
discussing current events in the attention placebo control group. A mock experiment
will be conducted using 20 recruited adults posing as students to help train the
collectors and intervention trainers a few months prior to executing the proposed
experiment.
Trainers will be taught how to goal set and self-evaluate using the exact
same lesson plan I designed for the students, but in a shorter timeframe than 16
weeks. They will then conduct mock experiments using the 20 adults as students. I
will sit in to ensure fidelity of the intervention from the trainers in both the
experimental and the control group.
Data will be collected from the mock experiments in the same order, same
fashion and same standard as will be required of them during the real experiment.
49


The procedures for collecting the data will be practiced over and over again until
consistent data collection accuracy is ensured.
Data Collection
Data to be collected at baseline will contain information regarding student
demographic and student academics, namely; age, gender, grade and GPA. The
students GPA will be gathered from school records to offer the academic starting
point of which to base this experiment. Other sources of data to be collected include
an MSLQ, and a questionnaire. The sources of data may be collected at time of pre
test, intermediate follow up (1st post test), long term follow up (2nd post test), or any
combination of the three collection times.
1. Grade Point Average
The students grade point average (GPA) of prior semester will be requested from the
school, for recorded accuracy, at time of experiment commencement (pre test). This
will provide a quantitative starting point for analyzing the impact of implemented
goal setting and self evaluation. Grade point average will then be requested again at
time of intermediate and long term follow up.
2. Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ)
This questionnaire will be used as part of the pre test, intermediate post test and the
long term follow-up. The Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ)
(Pintrich, Smith, Garcia & McKeachie, 1993) is an 81 item broken down into two
major headings; learning strategies and motivation. The learning strategies heading
is divided into two sections; a) cognitive meta-cognitive and b) resource
50


management. Cognitive meta-cognitive encompasses questions on rehearsal,
elaboration, organization, critical thinking, and meta-cognitive self regulation.
Resource management encompasses questions on managing time, study environment,
effort management, peer learning and help seeking. The other heading, motivation is
divided into 3 sub sections a) valuing b) expectancy and c) affect. Valuing contains
questions regarding intrinsic-extrinsic goal orientation and task value. Expectancy
contains questions regarding self efficacy and control of learning, and lastly, the
affect section revolves around test anxiety (Zimmerman 2008, pg 168).
The students in both groups of the experiment will be given the MSLQ at the
same time of day for the pre test, intermediate and long term follow-up. The MSLQ
has been used hundreds of times by researchers as a measurement tool for self
regulation and learning strategies. One such example is an experiment by Pintrich
and Degroot (1990). Anthony R. Artino Jr., from the University of Connecticut
(2005) also did a validity and reliability review of the MSLQ. He explains the
research process Pintrich, Smith, Garcia and McKeachie (1993) did for over four
years to produce such an extensive measurement tool, along with their own internal
research to ensure it was valid and reliable (p.7-9).
3. Long Term Follow up Questionnaire
This questionnaire, given at the final post test, will ask students specifically whether
or not they spoke with students of the other group and if information was crossed
from the intervention group to the placebo attention control group. The following
yes/no questions will be asked to students of both groups.
51


Please mark 1 for yes and 2 for no.
a) Did you talk with members of the other group during the course of the
experiment? (if you answered yes, please proceed to the following
questions, if you answered no, please stop here)
b) Did you discuss any material you have learned from your group with
members of the other group?
c) Did you implement information, into your study habits or behavior; you
may have discussed or learned from talking with any members from the
other group? (if you answered yes, please proceed to the final question, if
you answered no, please stop here)
d) Do you feel that the new information you implemented had affect on
your academic performance?
All of the above data will be collected in the noted timeframe, whether at pre
test, intermediate follow up, or long term follow up. Once collected, data will be
organized and analyzed to see if results match the stated hypotheses.
Data Analysis
A number of different measures will be used to analyze each specific source
of data collected.
Comparisons to the initial (pre test) GPA will be made at time of (both post
tests) intermediate and long term follow-up, with the means and any standard
deviation being graphed for easy analysis.
52


The initial answers from both groups on the MSLQ will be compared to their
answers after exposure to the instruction imposed by the trained teachers, and after
a semester without direct instruction (long term follow-up). These answers will then
be analyzed using a simple social science t test.
53


CHAPTER 6
CONCLUSION
With this being a proposed experiment the conclusion is unknown, but there
are many expected results. The experimental design has been set up to test the stated
hypotheses, while providing an organized outline to offset any anticipated
roadblocks. This research has great potential in helping teachers recognize the
importance of self-regulation on academic success. The outcome desire for this
research is for it to assist in showcasing the need for students to learn effective goal
setting and self-evaluation intervention skills.
On the opposite side, alternate data could be found at the end result of this
proposed experiment. This can be attributed to a few outside factors not part of the
experimental design. If students from both groups discuss what they are learning
with each other outside of class or school, it could result in the cross of information
from one group to the other. Therefore it is possible, students from the experimental
group could share goal setting and self-evaluation information they are learning with
students from the control group who are just getting extra study time. A short
questionnaire given at the time of post test to both the intervention and the attention
placebo control group can help answer whether or not information was crossed from
one group to the other (see sample Long Term Follow Up Questionnaire in the
Appendix).
54


Another factor to produce alternate findings could be attributed to some of
the participants possessing a knowledge of goal setting or self-evaluation and
therefore have high grades already due to the use of these self-regulatory strategies
prior to their participation in this experiment. Analyzing the collected data should
help offer a distinction between those who already possess knowledge and
implementation of goal setting and self-evaluation and those who are learning it for
the first time.
As Latham and Locke (1991) summarize, people are natural self-regulators
when it comes to directing their behavior with goals due to that being a huge part of
life; but it is being effective at self-regulating that needs to be attained through being
taught, experience and effort (p. 240). If the data findings report a paralleled
conclusion to my hypotheses, then this proposed experiment could become a
stepping stone for the creation of a curriculum/program to implement in group
settings and in the classroom. It will be the vehicle for teachers to be trained in
teaching self-regulatory skills within the classroom, which then could lead to better
prepared and more successful students.
55


APPENDIX A
Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ)
Part A: Motivation (questions 1-31)
The first set of questions to follow ask about your motivation for and attitudes about
your courses. Remember that are no right or wrong answers, just answer as accurately
as possible. Use the scale below to answer the questions. If you think the statement is
very true of you, select 7; if a statement is not at all true of you, select 1. If the
statement is more or less true of you, find the number between 1 and 7 that best
describes you.
Part B: Learning Strategies (questions 32-81)
These questions ask about your learning strategies and study skills. Again, there are
no right or wrong answers. Answer the questions as accurately as possible using the
same scale as questions 1 through 31.
* Required
Name *
E-mail address *
Class *
2012
56


1.1 prefer course material that really challenges me so I can learn new things. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of ^ ^ ^ me r r r C very true of me
2. If I study in appropriate ways, then I will be able to leam the material in a particular course. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of ^ ^ me r C c r very true of me
3. When I take a test, I think about how poorly I students. * am doing compared with other
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of ^ p p me r c r c very true of me
4.1 think I will be able to use what I learn in one course in other courses I take. *
not at all true of
me
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
c r r r r r r very true of
me
5.1 believe I will receive an excellent grade in any particular course. *
57


1 2 3 4 5 6 i
not at all true of p r r r r r r very true of
me
me
6. I'm certain that I can understand the most difficult material presented in the
readings for my courses. *
not at all true of
me
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
r r r r r r r
very true of
me
7. Getting good grades in my courses is the most satisfying thing for me right now.
*
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p me C r c P very true of me
8. When I take a test, I think about items on other parts of the test that I can't answer. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p r r r P very true of
me me
9. It is my own fault if I don't learn the material in a course.
58


1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p me r r r c P very true of me
10. It is important for me to learn the material in my courses. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p me c c c c r very true of me
11. The most important thing for me right now is improving my overall grade point average, so my main concern is getting good grades in my courses. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p me p r p p r very true of me
12. I'm confident that I can learn the basic concepts taught in a course. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p c r r c r very true of
me
me
13. If I can, I want to get better grades in my courses than most of the other
students. *
59


1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p me r r r r r very true of me
14. When I take tests, I think of the consequences of failing. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p me r r r c r very true of me
15. I'm confident that I can understand the most complex material presented by an instructor in a course. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p me r r r r r very true of me
16.1 prefer course material that arouses my curiosity, even if it is difficult to learn. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p me r r r r r very true of me
17.1 am very interested in the content area of my courses. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
60


not at all true of
me
r r
r c r r
very true of
me
18. If I try hard enough, then I will understand course material. *
12 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p p me r c C very true of me
19.1 have an uneasy, upset feeling when I take an exam. *
12 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p p me c r r very true of me
20. I'm confident that I can do an excellent job courses. * on the assignments and tests in my
12 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p p c c r very true of
me me
21.1 expect to do well in my courses. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
61


not at all true very true of
me me
22. The most satisfying thing for me in a course is trying to understand the content
as thoroughly as possible. *
not at all true of
me
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
r C r r r r r very true of
me
23.1 think the material in my courses is generally useful for me to learn. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true very true of
me me
24. When I have the opportunity, I choose course assignments that I can learn from,
even if they don't guarantee a good grade. *
not at all true of
me
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
r C r C r r r very true of
me
25. If I dont understand the course material, it is because I didn't try hard enough. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
62


not at all true of <~ me c r r r r r very true of me
26.1 generally like the subject matters of my courses. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of ^ me C r c r r r very true of me
27. Understanding the subject matter of a course is very important to me. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of ^ me c r r r r r very true of me
28.1 feel my heart beating fast when I take an exam. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of ^ me peer* r r very true of me
29. I'm certain that I can master the skills being taught in my courses. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
63


not at all true ofppppppp very true of
me me
30.1 want to do well in my courses because it is important to show my ability to my
family, friends, employer, or others. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p r r c r r c very true of
me
me
31. Considering the difficulty of my courses, the teacher, and my skills, I think 1
will do well in my academic tasks. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true ofppppppp very true of
me me
32. When I study the readings for a course, I outline the material to help me
organize my thoughts. *
not at all true of
me
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
r r r r r r r very true of
me
33. During class time 1 often miss important points because I'm thinking of other
things. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
64


not at all true ofppppppp very true of
me me
34. When studying for a course, I often try to explain the material to a classmate or
friend. *
not at all true of
me
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
c r r r r r r
very true of
me
35.1 usually study in a place where I can concentrate on my course work. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p me r c r r r p very true of me
36. When reading for a course, I make up questions to help focus my reading. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p me r r r r r P very true of me
37.1 often feel so lazy or bored when I study for a course that I quit before I finish
what I planned to do. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
65


not at all true ofppppppp very true of
me me
38.1 often find myself questioning things I hear or read in a course to decide if 1
find them convincing. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p me P r r r r P very true of me
39. When 1 study for a course, I practice saying the material to myself over and over. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p r r r C r P very true of
me me
66


40. Even if I have trouble learning the material in a course, I try to do the work on
my own, without help from anyone. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p p p me r r very true of me
41. When I become confused about something I'm reading for a course, I go back and try to figure it out. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p p p me c r very true of me
42. When I study for a course, I go through the readings and my notes and try to find the most important ideas. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p p p me c r very true of me
43.1 make good use of my study time for my courses. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p p p c r very true of
me
me
67


44. If course readings are difficult to understand, I change the way I read the
material. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p me r r c P very true of me
45.1 try to work with other students from my courses to complete assignments. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p me r r C P very true of me
46. When studying for my courses, I read my class notes and course readings over and over again. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p me c r r p very true of me
47. When a theory, interpretation, or conclusion is presented in class or in the
readings, I try to decide if there is good supporting evidence. *
not at all true of
me
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
r r r r r r C very true of
me
48.1 work hard to do well in my courses even if I don't like what we're doing in
68


them. *
not at all true of me 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 very true of me
49.1 make simple charts, diagrams, or tables to help me organize course material. *
not at all true of me 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 P p P P P P P very true of me
50. When studying for a course, I often set aside time to discuss course material
with a group of students from the class. *
not at all true of me 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 P p j-s p p very true of me
51.1 treat the course material as a starting point and try to develop my own ideas
about it. *
not at all true of me 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 P p p p p p very true of me
52.1 find it hard to stick to a study schedule. *
69


not at all true of me 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ^ P ^ ^ ^ ^ very true of me
53. When I study for a course, I pull together information from different sources,
such as lectures, readings, and discussions. *
not at all true of me 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ^ P P p ^ ^ p very true of me
54. Before I study new course material thoroughly, I often skim it to see how it is
organized. * 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of me ^ p.. p* p very true of me
55.1 ask myself questions to make sure I understand the material I have been
studying in a course. *
not at all true of me 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ^ p p p ^ p very true of me
56.1 try to change the way I study to fit the course requirements and the instructor's
teaching style. *
70


1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p me r P p r very true of me
57.1 often find that I have been reading for a course but don't know what it was all about. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p me r c r r very true of me
58.1 ask the instructor to clarify concepts I don't understand well. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p me c c c r very true of me
59.1 memorize key words to remind me of important concepts in a course. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p r C C r very true of
me me
60. When course work is difficult, I either give up or only study the easy parts. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
71


not at all true ofppppppp very true of
me me
61.1 try to think through a topic and decide what I am supposed to learn from it
rather than just reading it over when studying for a course. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p me r r r r r r very true of me
62. I try to relate ideas in one subject to those in other courses whenever possible. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p me r r r C c C very true of me
63. When I study for a course, I go over my class notes and make an outline of important concepts. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p me r r C r r r very true of me
64. When reading for a course, I try to relate the material to what I already know. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
72


not at all true of ^ ^ me r r c r r very true of me
65.1 have a regular place set aside for studying. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of ^ ^ r r r r r very true of
me
me
66. I try to play around with ideas of my own related to what I am learning in a
course. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ very true of
me me
67. When I study for a course, I write brief summaries of the main ideas from the
readings and my class notes. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ very true of
me me
73


68. When I can't understand the material in a course, I ask another student in the
course for help. *
not at all true of
me
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
r C c r r c r
very true of
me
69.1 try to understand the material in a course by making connections between the
readings and the concepts from the lectures. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true ofppppppp very true of
me me
70.1 make sure that I keep up with the weekly readings and assignments for my
courses. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p p p p p very true of
me me
74


71. Whenever I read or hear an assertion or conclusion in a course, I think about
possible alternatives. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of ^ me r C r r r r very true of me
72.1 make lists of important items for my courses and memorize the lists. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of ^ me r r r C C r very true of me
73.1 attend my courses regularly. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of (- me r r r r c r very true of me
74. Even when course materials are dull and uninteresting, I manage to keep working until I'm finished. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of C r r C r r very true of
me me
75.1 try to identify students in my courses whom I can ask for help if necessary. *
75


1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p C r r C C r very true of
me
me
76. When studying for a course I try to determine which concepts I don't understand
well. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of me c r r r r C r very true of me
77.1 often find that I dont spend very much time on a course because of other activities. *
l 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of c c r r r r r very true of
me me
78. When I study for a course, I set goals for myself to direct my activities in each
study period. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p p p p p p very true of
me me
79. If I get confused taking notes in class, I make sure to sort it out afterwards. *
76


1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p me p p p p very true of me
80.1 rarely find time to review my notes or readings before an exam. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p me P P P P p very true of me
81.1 try to apply ideas from course readings to other class activities such as lecture
and discussion. *
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all true of p p me P p p p p very true of me
77


APPENDIX B
Self Regulated Learning Model (Cyclical SRL Model)
78


APPENDIX C
Long Term Follow-up Questionnaire
This questionnaire will be given to both the intervention and the attention
placebo control group at the end of the second semester, known as the long term
follow-up. This questionnaire will address the possibility of information being
crossed from one group to the other.
Please mark 1 for yes and 2 for no.
a) Did you talk with members of the other group during the course of the
experiment? (if you answered yes, please proceed to the following
questions, if you answered no, please stop here)
b) Did you discuss any material you have learned from your group with
members of the other group?
c) Did you implement information, into your study habits or behavior; you
may have discussed or learned from talking with any members from the
other group? (if you answered yes, please proceed to the final question, if
you answered no, please stop here)
d) Do you feel that the new information you implemented had affect on
your academic performance?
79


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