Competence Perceptions and Academic Functioning

  • Schunk D
  • Pajares F
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Abstract

In this chapter, we acquaint readers with self-constructs that have received extensive attention in academic motivation research; specifically, perceptions of competence. Although competence perceptions are central to many theories of motivation, we focus our chapter on perceived self-efficacy--one's perceived capabilities to learn or perform behaviors at designated levels (Bandura, 1986, 1997). We begin by providing a brief overview of Bandura's (1986) social cognitive theory. We then identify other competence beliefs prominent in motivation research today, describe the defining characteristics of each construct, and distinguish these conceptions from self-efficacy. We provide empirical results that speak to the relation between self-efficacy and motivation and achievement outcomes. We also address the difficulty of comparing findings across studies of competence perceptions when definitions and methodological practices have differed so markedly in investigations. We trace the cultural, social, familial, and educational influences on development of self-efficacy, and we close the chapter by offering recommendations for further study. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved) (from the chapter)

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Authors

  • Dale H. Schunk

  • Frank Pajares

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