Bandura, A (1997). Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control. Freeman: New York (212-258).
EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS HAVE UNDERGONE fundamental change during historical periods of cultural and technological transitions. Educational systems were originally designed to teach low-level skills in agricultural societies. When industrialization supplanted agriculture as the major economic enterprise, the educational system was adapted for the needs of heavy industry and manufacturing. Most of the occupational pursuits required rote performance without many cognitive skills. Increasing complexities in technologies, social systems, and the international economy present different realities demanding new types of competencies. In the modern workplace, sweeping changes in technologies are mechanizing many of the everyday transactions and activities that were formerly done manually. In contemporary production systems, people manage computer-controlled machines that perform most of the routine work. We retool our production machines by changing the computer software. We design and test things using computer graphics and thus do not have to construct prototypes. The offices of today are run, in large part, by computerized information-management systems. New technologies are displacing traditional jobs even in the delivery of services. We bank with automatic tellers, talk to operator less recording machines that shepherd us through tortuous paths, and pump gas from computerized equipment monitored by a single person sitting in a booth. Bar code scanners tied to automated inventory management systems reorder merchandise without requiring inventory clerks and purchasing agents. Many workers have been displaced by automation.
The advent of the information era does not mean that the workplace is now solely concerned with managing data and transacting messages. Rather, the information technology is operating automated production and service systems. These electronic technologies are run by structuring and manipulating information. The historical transition from the industrial to the information era has profound implications for educational systems. In the past, youth with limited schooling had recourse to well-paying industrial and manufacturing jobs demanding minimal cognitive skills. Such options are rapidly shrinking. The emerging opportunities require communication and thinking skills to fulfill the more complex occupational roles and to manage the intricate demands of contemporary life. Education has now become vital for a productive life. Moreover, the rapid pace of social and technological change requires people to learn new competencies or to adapt preexisting ones to changing conditions to keep their skills from becoming outmoded. Moreover, computerized systems provide a handy vehicle for transactive construction of knowledge. Educational systems, therefore, must teach students how to educate themselves throughout their lifetime. They have to be adaptable, proficient learners. The hope and future of individuals and their societies reside in their capacities for self-renewal.
Societies pay dearly for the educational neglect of their youth. School failure often foreshadows delinquency, substance abuse, teenage pregnancies, and heavy involvement in other high-risk behaviors that jeopardize the chances of having a productive and satisfying life. Intellectually deficient youth become occupationally disadvantaged adults with unstable means of livelihood that have severe repercussions on patterns of family life (Wilson, 1987). In the new global economy, even the better educated now have to compete with well-educated labor abroad where companies are quite willing to relocate their development and production systems to places where they can hire workers at lower wages. There is little support for family life if wage earners cannot provide for the family's economic welfare. A society with a poorly educated work force cannot compete successfully in the international marketplace. The net result is a decline in the quality, and standard of living.
The impact of the information era on educational systems extends well beyond matters of occupational preparation. The information technologies are transforming the educational enterprise itself. Easy electronic access to well-organized instruction in virtually any subject creates extensive learning opportunities that transcend time and place. The process of learning is individualized and enables students to exercise considerable control over their own education. They can construct their own learning environment and structure their knowledge by drawing on the vast educational resources available. This enables people in all walks of life to take a stronger hand in shaping their own development. If people form interactive networks, they can learn from one another through collaborative instruction. Multi-linked collaborative and mentoring relationships can accelerate the mastery of difficult subjects and the construction of new understandings. Multimedia educational resources available on the network similarly enable teachers to create and tailor learning environments in their classrooms to suit particular purposes.
Much learning will be occurring outside the confines of schools. Students will be educating themselves with multimedia instruction presented electronically by master teachers via the global Internet. This educational technology can greatly expand the learning opportunities of children in school systems with limited resources. The students can pursue courses taught by gifted faculty in distant locales. They can have the best libraries, instructional sites, and museums at their fingertips. Electronically mediated instruction also provides a convenient vehicle for gaining specialized knowledge long after one's formal schooling has ended. People can expand their knowledge and skills at a time, place, and pace of their own choosing through the offerings in the network. The Internet will serve as the main instructional medium for lifelong learning. Virtual institutions increasingly will provide multimedia higher education both nationally and internationally.
Telelearning must be placed in proper perspective. Educational technologies can do only so much. Children can learn a lot from computer terminals, but they need human teachers to help build their sense of efficacy, to cultivate their aspirations, and to find meaning and direction in their pursuits. The content of early schooling is perishable and long forgotten, but the interpersonal and self-development effects endure. If students are to make the most of these opportunities, they must develop the ability to regulate their own motivation and learning activities. Those who are most at risk of educational failures are likely to be the ones who are least prepared to use such instructional systems or who have limited access to them. Because of limited resources, the disadvantaged are likely to be left out of these educative systems. Unless the poor are provided with home computers and access to online services, the knowledge gap between rich and poor nations and between advantaged and disadvantaged sectors within nations will widen. Information technologies provide educational opportunities, but self-motivation and aspirations will determine, in large part, what is made of those opportunities. Under self-managed instruction, the knowledge gap between wavering self-regulators and proficient self-regulators will widen, whatever their socioeconomic status might be.
Software producers who offer telelearning and resource indexing will be increasingly influential players in the educational process. As in other technologies, the benefits of electronic education come with social costs. Market forces and production gimmickry may come to dictate educational content. The divisive social effects of inequitable access have already been noted. Open access to the Inter-net enables students to explore not only educational resources but also materials that parents and schools consider highly objectionable. Moreover, students can use the Internet for offensive purposes (Furoran, Schofield, & Eurich-Fulcer, 1995). Therefore, parents and educators will have to grapple with the troublesome side of electronic instructional systems.
Much of the fervor over the development of national talent is fueled by an ethic of competitive triumphs in the global marketplace. Not all of this productivity uses resources wisely or improves the human condition. The pursuit of continuous economic growth through high consumption exacts a heavy toll on finite resources and widespread environmental degradation. All too often, the heavy demands of work life leave little time or energy for family, recreation, and civic life. Schools carry a broader social responsibility in educating a society's youth. Good schooling fosters psychosocial growth that contributes to the quality of life beyond the vocational domain. The major goal of formal education should be to equip students with the intellectual tools, efficacy beliefs, and intrinsic interests needed to educate themselves in a variety of pursuits throughout their lifetime. These personal resources enable individuals to gain new knowledge and to cultivate skills either for their own sake or to better their lives.
The various psychosocial processes over which efficacy beliefs exercise some control are intimately involved in the cultivation of cognitive competencies. The principal mediators, which were extensively reviewed earlier, include cognitive, motivational, affective, and selective processes. These efficacy-regulated processes not only play a key role in setting the course of intellectual development but also exert considerable influence on how well-established cognitive skills are used in managing the demands of everyday life. There are three main ways in which efficacy beliefs operate as important contributors to the development of cognitive competencies that govern academic achievement: students' beliefs in their efficacy to master different academic subjects; teachers' beliefs in their personal efficacy to motivate and promote learning in their students; and faculties' collective sense of efficacy that their schools can accomplish significant academic progress.
STUDENTS' COGNITIVE SELF-EFFICACY
Considerable progress has been achieved in clarifying the role of efficacy beliefs in the growth of cognitive competencies and their use in adapting to and changing the environment. The initial research verified that perceived efficacy beliefs contribute independently to intellectual performance rather than simply reflecting cognitive skills. Collins (1982) selected children who judged themselves to be of high or low efficacy at each of three levels of mathematical ability. They were then given difficult mathematical problems to solve. Within each level of ability, children who had the stronger belief in their efficacy were quicker to discard faulty strategies, solved more problems (Fig. 6.1), chose to rework more of those they failed, and did so more accurately than children of equal ability who doubted their efficacy. Children's causal attributions for their academic successes and failures were unrelated to their mathematical performances. Efficacy beliefs predicted interest in, and positive attitudes toward, mathematics, whereas actual mathematical ability did not. As this study shows, students may perform poorly either because they lack the skills or because they have the skills but lack the perceived personal efficacy to make optimal use of them.
FIGURE 6.1. Mean levels of mathematical performance achieved by students as a function of mathematical ability and perceived mathematical self-efficacy. (After Collins, 1982).
Bouffard-Bouchard, Parent, and Larivde (1991) not only corroborated the independent contribution of efficacy beliefs to cognitive performance but also identified some of the self-regulative processes through which they do so. Regardless of whether children were of superior or average cognitive ability, those with a high sense of efficacy were more successful in solving conceptual problems than were children of equal ability but lower perceived efficacy. The more self-efficacious students at each ability level managed their work time better, were more persistent, and were less likely to reject correct solutions prematurely.
The causal contribution of efficacy beliefs to cognitive functioning is verified even more directly by Bouffard-Bouchard (1990), in a study cited earlier. High or low efficacy beliefs were instilled in students by comparison with fictitious peer norms irrespective of their actual performance. Students whose sense of efficacy was raised set higher aspirations for themselves, showed greater strategic flexibility in the search for solutions, achieved higher intellectual performances, and were more accurate in evaluating the quality of their performances than were students of equal cognitive ability who were led to believe they lacked such capabilities. Efficacy beliefs contributed to accomplishments both motivationally and through support of strategic thinking.
In an extensive series of studies, Schunk and his coworkers have employed an informative experimental paradigm that has added greatly to our understanding of the many factors that affect children's perceived cognitive efficacy and its impact on scholastic performance (Schunk, 1989). The participants are children who present severe deficits in mathematical and language skills. They pursue a program of self-directed learning in which the material is structured for them in easily mastered sub-skills. The children learn the basic principles and practice applying them to mathematical problems. The self-directed learning is supplemented with instructional social influences that can affect children's beliefs of their cognitive efficacy. These influences include modeling of cognitive operations, instruction in higher order strategies, use of different forms of performance feedback that can influence self-appraisal of capabilities, and addition of positive incentives and aspirational goals as further motivators for the development of cognitive skills.
This paradigm includes several positive features for causal analyses. The children have little in the way of preexisting skills to serve as a source of perceived efficacy, Their sense of efficacy is instilled to differential levels through systematic variation of instructional influences applied over an extended period. Experimental variation removes ambiguity about the source and direction of causation. The acquisition of cognitive subskills is continuously monitored, thus permitting evaluation of the unique contribution of efficacy beliefs to academic performance over and above that of acquired skills. And finally, the treatments create complex sets of academic skills in natural educational settings. This makes the results highly generalizable to the very scholastic tasks children have to master in their classroom assignments.
The research using this standardized paradigm is reviewed in the sections that follow. In these numerous studies (Schunk, 1989), analyses of the contribution of efficacy beliefs to level of cognitive performance are uniform in their findings: Efficacy beliefs are influenced by acquisition of cognitive skills, but they are not merely a reflection of them. Children with the same level of cognitive skill development differ in their intellectual performances depending on the strength of their perceived efficacy. Several factors may account for the predictive superiority of efficacy belief over acquired skills. Children vary, in how they interpret, store, and recall their successes and failures. As a result, they differ in how much self-efficacy they derive from similar attainments. Moreover, in judging their capabilities, children evaluate social influences that contribute to efficacy beliefs independently of skills. Academic performances are the products of cognitive capabilities implemented through motivational and other self-regulatory skills. The efficacy beliefs that children form affect how consistently and effectively they apply what they know. Perceived self-efficacy, therefore, is a better predictor of intellectual performance than skills alone.
Studies in this series that include path analyses shed further light on the different paths through which efficacy beliefs influence intellectual performance (Schunk, 1984a). Figure 6.2 provides one illustration of the causal structure. Skill development has small direct effects on academic performance and on children's beliefs of their academic efficacy. Perceived efficacy exerts a more substantial impact on academic performance, both directly by affecting quality of thinking and good use of acquired cognitive skills and indirectly by heightening persistence in the search for solutions.
If self-efficacious individuals find solutions readily, they have no need to persist. Therefore, the motivational link in causal structures is best tested with intractable problems. When successes are hard to come by, individuals of high efficacy are persisters and those of low efficacy are rapid quitters (Bandura & Schunk, 1981). The motivational link is even more convincingly demonstrated when efficacy beliefs are altered by arbitrary. means without changing skills, and then people are observed to see how long they persist in trying to solve intractable or insoluble intellectual problems (Brown & Inouye, 1978; Jacobs et al., 1984; Lyman, Prentice-Dunn, Wilson, & Bonfilio, 1984). Raising belief in their efficacy makes them more perseverant.
Efficacy beliefs play an influential mediational role in academic attainment. The extent to which such factors as level of cognitive ability, prior educational preparation and attainment, gender, and altitudes toward academic activities influence academic performance is partly dependent on how much they affect efficacy beliefs. The more they alter efficacy beliefs, the greater the impact they have on academic attainments. The unique contribution of beliefs of cognitive efficacy to academic performance is highly replicable in analyses of the direct and mediated effects between these diverse types of determinants (Hackett, 1985; Pajares & Kranzler, 1995; Pajares & Miller, 1994a; Pajares, Urdan, & Dixon, 1995; Randhawa, Beamer, & Lundberg, 1993).
FIGURE 6.2. Path analysis showing the mediating role of perceived mathematical self-efficacy in the mastery of mathematica[ competencies through self-directed instruction. (Schunk, 1984a).
Development of Cognitive Self-Efficacy through Aspiration
The development of cognitive competencies requires sustained involvement in activities. If appropriately structured, such pursuits provide the mastery experiences needed to build intrinsic interest and a sense of cognitive efficacy when they are lacking. This type of enduring self-motivation is best achieved through personal challenges that create a sense of efficacy and self-satisfaction in performance accomplishments (Bandura, 1991b). The motivating power of personal goals is partly determined by how far into the future they are projected. Short-term, or proximal, goals provide immediate incentives and guides for current pursuits. Distant goals are too far removed in time to be effective self-motivators. Usually, there are too many competing influences in everyday life for distant aims to exert much control over current behavior. By focusing on the distant future, it is all too easy to keep putting off difficult activities to some future time. Self-motivation is best sustained by combining a long-range goal that sets the course of one's endeavors with a series of attainable subgoals to guide and sustain one's efforts along the route.
In addition to serving as cognitive motivators, proximal goals serve as an effective vehicle for developing a sense of personal efficacy. Without standards against which to measure their performances, people have little basis for judging how they are doing or for gauging their capabilities. Subgoal attainments provide rising indicants of mastery that help to instill and verify a growing sense of personal efficacy. Making complex activities easier by breaking them down into a series of attainable subgoals also helps to reduce the risk of self-demoralization through high aspiration. The same accomplishment that indicates significant progress when evaluated against a short-term subgoal may appear trifling and disappointing when compared against lofty long-range aspirations. People can be acquiring skills but deriving Little sense of efficacy because of the wide disparity between current attainment and distal standard. The less individuals believe in themselves, the more they need explicit, proximal, and frequent feedback of progress that provides repeated affirmations of their growing capabilities.
The efficacy-promoting effects of subgoal challenges are revealed in a study in which children pursued self-directed learning with either proximal subgoals for mastering different mathematical skills, a distal goal of mastering all the skills by a future time, or without any goals (Bandura & Schunk, 1981). Those who motivated themselves with proxi-real subgoals made rapid progress, achieved substantial mastery of mathematical operations, and developed a strong sense of mathematical efficacy (see Fig. 4.7). Distal goals had no demonstrable effects. Children who pursued the self-directed learning with distal goals or no goals retained self-doubts about their capabilities and achieved much less through their efforts. Regardless of variations in goal systems, the more children raised their sense of efficacy, the greater were their mathematical accomplishments. Acquired skill alone was a weak predictor of how well children applied their mathematical knowledge in solving problems.
The benefits of goals in promoting cognitive development are replicated across different scholastic domains and types of goals. Children from remedial classes who receive instruction in reading comprehension achieve higher perceived efficacy and reading performances under goals either to raise their comprehension attainments or to increase their proficiency in using comprehension strategies than do children with only a general goal in mind (Schunk & Rice, 1989). By highlighting the progress one is making, learning goals for gains in knowledge and skill are more effective in developing a sense of personal efficacy and proficiency than goals that focus solely on level of performance accomplishment (Schunk, 1996). These alternative goal orientations, of course, can serve complimentary purposes. Proximal learning goals help to create the means for hoped-for accomplishments.
Effective goal systems embody a hierarchical structure in which proximal subgoals regulate motivation and action designated to fulfill loftier aspirations. As previously shown, however, proximal goals are not simply subordinate conveyances to valued loftier goals. By enlisting self-evaluative involvement, subgoals invest activities with personal significance. The satisfaction derived from advancing accomplishments operates as its own reward during the pursuit of higher distal goals (Bandnra & Scbunk, 1981).
Efficacious self-regulators invest activities with proximal challenges on their own by adopting goals of progressive improvement when they can get feedback of how they are doing (Bandura, 1991b; Bandura & Cervone, 1983). Those who set no goals of improvement achieve no change and are outperformed by those who set themselves the challenging goal of bettering their past accomplishments. The need to focus on progress rather than on distal products is particularly important for individuals who are convinced of their personal inefficacy and who need repeated self-persuasive evidence that they have what it takes for high attainments. It is easier to instill beliefs of personal efficacy if the instruction and informative feedback center on mastery of strategies that enable one to achieve progress rather than only on level of performance attainments. Knowing the means for becoming adept in given endeavors instills a sense of personal control over one's own development.
Schunk and Rice (1991) corroborate the value of strategic agency goals. Remedial readers who focused their efforts on mastering comprehension strategies and were given feedback of successful use of the strategies gained a higher sense of efficacy aud outperformed students who pursued strategy acquisition goals without feedback or who affixed their goals to level of performance attainment. For children who have serious deficits, instruction in strategies alone does not increase their efficacy or cognitive skill (Schunk & Rice, 1992). They require repeated verification that they can produce results with those strategies, The more their perceived efficacy is raised, the more they use the strategies in guiding their behavior. The benefits of combining training in strategies with feedback of progress in mastering them are even greater where learned skills must be transferred to new situations and adhered to over time (Schunk & Swartz, 1993).
Goals are unlikely to have much effect if there is little personal commitment to them. Goal commitment can be affected by the degree to which they are personally determined. When people select their own goals, they are likely to have greater self-involvement in achieving them, If goals are prescribed by others, however, individuals do not necessarily accept them or feel obligated to meet them. When it is a matter of simply using existing skills productively, people perform better with goals. Self-set goals increase satisfaction but do not produce improvements in performance over and above assigned goals (Locke & Latham, 1990; Locke & Schweiger, 1979). Self-determination of goals may be more influential in the development of skills, especially for those who harbor doubts about their capabilities. Thus, under self-set goals, children with serious mathematical deficits have higher initial expectations of goal attainment, develop a stronger sense of mathematical efficacy, and achieve higher mathematical performances than if comparable goals are prescribed for them or they pursue the self-directed learning without any goal challenges (Schunk, 1985).
Another way of increasing personal commitment to self-development of cognitive skills in activities that hold little interest is to link positive incentives to goal attainment. Adopting proximal goals for self-directed learning and gaining rewards for meeting them raise perceived efficacy, expectations for goal attainment, and academic performances to a higher level than do goals alone or positive incentives alone (Schunk, 1984e). Increased perceived efficacy is accompanied by higher academic attainments.
Cultivating Intrinsic Interest through Development of Self-Efficacy
Most of the things people enjoy doing for their own sake originally held little or no interest for them. Children are not born innately interested in singing operatic arias, playing contrabassoons, solving mathematical equations, writing sonnets, or propelling shot-put balls through the air. But with appropriate learning experiences, almost any activity, however trifling it may appear to others, can become imbued with consuming personal significance. Good instruction should promote interest as well as technical skill in subject matter. Teaching that instills a liking for what is taught fosters self-initiated learning long after the instruction has ceased.
The process by which people develop interest in activities in which they initially lack skill, interest, and self-efficacy is an issue of some importance. The major conceptual and empirical issues involved in the development of intrinsic interest have been addressed elsewhere (Bandura, 1986a). The present review analyzes mainly the contributory role of efficacy beliefs to the development of intrinsic interest. According to social cognitive theory, growth of intrinsic interest is fostered through affective self-reactive and self-efficacy mechanisms. People display enduring interest in activities at which they feel efficacious and from which they derive self-satisfaction. Both of these self-functions rely on personal standards. In most activities from which people gain lasting enjoyment, neither the behavior itself nor its natural feedback is inherently rewarding. Although behavior is not its own reward, it can provide its own rewards once it gets invested with personal significance. Once self-involvement in activities gets tied to personal standards, variations in performance attainments activate self-satisfying or self-dissatisfying reactions. To mountaineers, the toilsome activity of crawling over slippery rocks in foul weather is not inherently joyful. It is the self-satisfaction derived from personal triumphs over lofty peaks that provides the exhilaration. Remove the personal challenges, and crawling over rocks becomes quite boring. It is people's affective self-reactions to their own performances that constitute the principal source of reward. To cite an uncommon example, there is nothing inherently gratifying about playing a tuba solo. To an aspiring tuba instrumentalist, however, a performance that fulfills a hoped-for standard is a source of considerable self-satisfaction that can sustain much tuba blowing. Improvements in intellectual, athletic, and artistic pursuits similarly activate self-reactions that provide a sense of fulfillment and create personal incentives for accomplishments.
People differ widely in the pursuits in which they invest their self-evaluation. Hence, what is a source of self-satisfaction for one person may be devalued or of no consequence for another.
Personal standards can contribute to enhancement of interest in activities in at least three ways. Challenging standards enlist the sustained involvement in activities needed to build competencies. Csikszentmihalyi (1975; 1979) examined what it is about activities that fosters deep engrossment and enjoyment in different types of life pursuits. He found that almost any activity can be made intrinsically interesting by selecting challenges that match one's perceived capabilities and getting feedback of progress. One of the most important structural features of activities that captivate attention for hours on end is whether or not the activity has a personally challenging goal (Malone, 1981). When people aim for and master valued levels of perform-ante, they experience a sense of satisfaction (Locke & Latham, 1990). The satisfactions derived from goal attainments build intrinsic interest. Standards also foster development of personal efficacy by providing markers for verifying the level and growth of capabilities. Without standards, self-appraisal of capabilities is left in foggy ambiguity. A sense of personal efficacy in mastering tasks is more apt to spark interest in them than is perceived inefficacy in performing competently.
That subgoal accomplishments can build intrinsic interest in disvalued activities receives support from the study just cited in which children pursued self-directed learning of mathematics with proximal subgoals, with distal goals, or without any reference to goals (Bandura & Schunk, 1981). It was mainly the children given subgoal challenges, all of whom developed a strong sense of efficacy, who became intrinsically interested in mathematical activities. Difficult and remote challenges, which diminish the significance of modest progressive gains, neither promote perceived efficacy nor cultivate intrinsic interest. The value of proximal subgoals in fostering interest is further corroborated by Morgan (1985) in a study in which college students improved their academic attainments over the course of an academic year. Compared to students who aimed for a distal goal, those who set interim goals for themselves not only achieved more but developed a greater interest in the subject matter. A sense of personal efficacy promotes interest and enjoyment in physical activities as well as in intellectual ones (McAuley, Wraith, & Duncan, 1991).
The nature of the relation between the growth of perceived efficacy and the increase of interest warrants systematic investigation. There may be a temporal lag between newly acquired efficacy beliefs and growth of interest in activities that are dis-valued or even disliked. In the temporal lag pattern, a high sense of efficacy promotes mastery experiences that, over time, provide self-satisfactions conducive to growth of interest. If, in fact, growth of interest follows such a temporal course, then increased interest would emerge as a later, rather than as an instant, consequence of enhanced self-efficacy. The threshold notion suggests an alternative relation. At least moderate perceived efficacy may be required to generate and sustain interest in an activity, but increases in perceived efficacy above the threshold level do not produce further gains in interest. Indeed, supreme self-assurance may render activities unchallenging and, thus, uninteresting. Evidence lends some support for the threshold view (Bandura & Schunk, 1981). Regardless of the goals children were pursuing, efficacy beliefs of moderate to high strength predicted high intrinsic interest. Harackiewicz, Sansone, and Manderlink (1985) have similarly found that perceived self-efficacy mediates task enjoyment, but these factors are not linearly related. Temporal lag and threshold effects are by no means incompatible. In fact, both probably operate in the development of intrinsic interest.
Most academic activities present ever-rising challenges. Whatever knowledge and cognitive skills are acquired, there is always more to learn. Past accomplishments are quickly outdistanced, and self-satisfactions are sought in higher accomplishments. Thus, in the pursuit of excellence, the higher the students' efficacy beliefs, the higher the academic challenges they set for themselves and the greater their intrinsic interest in scholastic matters (Pintrich & DeGroot, 1990). Beliefs of personal efficacy predict level of interest in different occupational pursuits as well as in specific academic subjects even when the influence of ability is removed (Lent, Larkin, & Brown, 1989; Lent, Lopez, Bieschke, & Socall, 1991).
Like any other form of influence, goals can be applied in ways that breed dislikes rather than nurture interests. Personal standards promote interest when they create challenges and serve as guides for aspirations. But if goals assigned by others impose constraints and performance burdens, the pursuit can become aversive. Propositions about goal setting, therefore, must be qualified by the form they take and how they are used. Mossholder (1980) reports that goals enhance interest in dull tasks by infusing them with challenge but reduce interest in interesting tasks. Self-development would be poorly served if aspirations and challenges became dys-functional for activities that normally hold some interest. Fortunately, this is not the case. An interesting activity with a rising standard of excellence, which continues to present new challenges, enhances intrinsic interest, whereas the same activity with a low level of challenge does not (McMullin & Steffan, 1982). If subgoals for an interesting activity pose little challenge because they are easily attainable, then distal goals that are viewed as less readily achievable may hold greater interest (Manderlink & Harackiewicz, 1984). Routine successes with no corresponding growth of competence are not especially good sources of enjoyment. In the studies in which it is found that proximal goals cultivate perceived efficacy and intrinsic interest, each proximal subgoal presents new challenges in mastery of subskills (Bandura & Schunk, 1981 ).
Positive incentives are widely used to raise interest in academic activities. Some writers (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Lepper & Greene, 1978) have questioned the wisdom of this practice on the grounds that rewarding people for engaging in an activity is more likely to reduce than to increase subsequent interest in it. Extrinsic incentives presumably decrease interest by weakening competency drives or by shifting causal attributions for performance from internal motivators to external rewards.
Innumerable studies have found that the effects of incentives on interest are much more complex than commonly claimed: Rewards can increase interest in activities, reduce interest, or have no effect (Bandura, 1986a; Bates, 1979; Kruglanski, 1975; Morgan, 1984; Ross, 1976). In evaluating the impact of incentives on interest, it is important to distinguish whether incentives are used to manage performances or to cultivate personal efficacy. Extrinsic incentives are most likely to reduce interest when they are given for merely performing over and over again an activity that is already of high interest (Lepper, 1981). With this type of loose contingency, rewards are gained regardless of the level or quality of performance. Even when rewards are given indiscriminately, however, they sometimes enhance interest (Arnold, 1976; Davidson & Bucher, 1978), boost low interest but diminish or do not affect high interest (Calder & Staw, 197#; Loveland & Olley, 1979; McLoyd, 1979), or reduce low interest but do not significantly affect high interest (Greene, Sternberg, & Lepper, 1976). Conflicting findings occur when a given factor exerts a weak influence so that co-occurring influences can easily alter or override its effects. Many possible contributing factors have been studied, often with inconclusive results. They include how closely rewards are linked to performance; the level of preexisting interest and ability'; the size, salience, and value of rewards; the type of activity performed; and how, when, and where intrinsic motivation is measured. Indiscriminate indictment of positive incentives as underminers of interest re-fleets, for the most part, the triumph of doctrine over evidence.
Incentives for mastering activities contribute to the growth of interest and perceived efficacy. Positive incentives foster performance accomplishments. The resultant acquisition of knowledge and skills that enable one to fulfill personal standards of merit tend to heighten beliefs of personal efficacy. Thus, for children hampered by mathematical deficits, incentives for mastering sub-skills accelerate acquisition of mathematical competency and raise perceived mathematical efficacy, whereas nonceontiugent rewards or the pursuit of self-instruction without incentives produces a much lower level of competency and a weaker sense of efficacy (Schunk, 1983a).
Diverse lines of research indicate that positive incentives promote interest when they either enhance or authenticate personal efficacy. Both children and adults maintain or increase their interest in activities when they are rewarded for performance attainments, whereas their interest declines when rewarded for undertaking activities irrespective of how well they perform (Boggiano & Ruble, 1979; Ross, 1976). The larger the extrinsic reward for performance signifying competence, the greater is the increase in interest in the activity (Enzle & Ross, 1978). When rewards are tied to levels of competence, greater interest in the activity is produced if competence is generously rewarded than if it is meagerly compensated (Rosenfield, Folger & Adelman, 1980). When material reward for performance attainments is accompanied by either self-verbalization of competence or social feedback of competence, both children and adults sustain high interest in the activity (Pretty & Seligman, 1984; Sagotsky & Lewis, 1978). Even incentives for undertaking a task, rather than for performing it well, can raise interest if engaging in the activity provides information about personal competence (Arnold, 1976).
In some of the studies cited, the mediating cognitive mechanism is measured globally as perceived competence. Rewarding quality of performance enhances perceived competence, which, in turn, predicts intrinsic interest. People who subscribe to high standards strive for a job well done even though they may be rewarded simply for performing the activity without regard to quality, (Simon, 1979b). Therefore, sometimes interest is predicted by perceived competence regardless of whether people are rewarded for only engaging in activities or for doing them well (Arnold, 1985). A global self-conception is not the most sensitive measure of perceived capabiliby. Research using microanalytic measures provides the most direct evidence that incentives linked to standards of excellence work in part through their effects on efficacy beliefs in promoting intrinsic interest (Sehunk, 1983a).
According to Deci and Ryan (1985), rewards diminish interest when they appear to be controlling but increase it when they convey information about competency. Distinctions are easy to draw, but actual incentive systems are difficult to classify because they usually embody a number of different properties. Moreover, incentive transactions usually involve bidirectional rather than unidirectional influence. People who possess valued skills regard their competent performances as the reason for the rewards they receive, rather than viewing the rewards as the cause of their competent performances (Karniol & Ross, 1976). They do not view themselves as objects of coercion but as controllers of deserving recompense for their talents.
Research on how incentives affect interest has rested on intuitive and post hoc classifications of incentive systems. Originally, rewards requiring performance achievements were regarded as more controlling, and hence more detrimental to interest, than rewards that make no performance demands. This supposition did not fare well empirically because rewarding people regardless of how they perform, although clearly less controlling than requiring them to meet certain performance standards, is more likely to dampen their interest. Rewards for performance accomplishments, which generally increase interest, were then redefined as being informative. There are inconsistencies across studies in the classification of similar types of incentives as predominantly controlling or as informative. This illustrates the arbitrariness of the controlling informative distinction and its limitations as an organizing principle. Until objective criteria are provided for classifying rewards as controlling, as informative, or as expressing some other aspect of a rewarding transaction, the theory is not easily testable.
The controlling-informative dichotomy by no means exhausts the properties of incentives that may affect self-efficacy, interest, and motivation. Incentives can also serve as challenges. When people are provided with incentives for fulfilling certain standards, they tend to set goals for themselves. The extent to which positive incentives enhance accomplishments is partly mediated through the level of self-set challenges they prompt (Locke & Latham, 1990; Wright, 1989). Challenges motivate people to develop and exercise their efficacy, and they serve as a major determinant of interest. In evaluating incentive systems, therefore, one must distinguish between the recompense of an incentive and its challenge. To someone working on an assembly line, the incentive system pays but does not challenge. To aspiring Olympic athletes, the prospect of a medal presents a challenge that motivates arduous, endless perfection of athletic competencies. The more that extrinsic incentives provide challenges, the more likely they are to foster development of self-efficacy, interest, and deep involvement in an activity. Just as incentive systems are not necessarily the foes of self-determination, nor is competency feedback alone necessarily the interest builder it is made out to be. It depends on whether that competency feedback conveys good or bad news. Feedback of poor progress or deficient performances can create internal barriers to self-determination by undermining a sense of personal efficacy.
The previous discussion should not be misinterpreted as advocating wholesale use of extraneous incentives. One can point to numerous instances in which such incentives are applied thoughtlessly and more for purposes of social regulation than for personal development. Incentives should be used, if necessary, mainly to cultivate competencies, a sense of personal efficacy, and enduring interests. As involvement and skills in activities increase, social, symbolic, and self-evaluative rewards assume the incentive functions. Activities can be creatively structured in ways that capture and heighten interest (Hackman & Lawlet, 1971; Malone, 1981; Malone & Lepper, 1985). This is achieved by building positive features into tasks that make them enjoyable, creating personal challenges through goal setting, adding variety to counteract boredom, encouraging personal responsibility for accomplishments, and providing feedback of progress. Moreover, the enthusiasm exhibited by models imparts interest to activities that might otherwise be regarded indifferently. Mentors who seek challenges, enjoy what they are doing, and do not let problems get them down often lead others by their example to seek their identity and fulfillment in similar pursuits. The less interestingly activities are structured and modeled, the more people are likely to resort to extrinsic incentives as motivators.
Self-Efficacy in the Use of Cognitive and Metacognitive Skills
Psychology has focused heavily on issues of how the mind works in processing, representing, organizing, and retrieving information. Research has clarified many aspects of cognitive functioning. This insulated cognitivism does scant justice, however, to the diverse self-regulatory processes governing human development and adaptation. Effective intellectual functioning requires much more than simply understanding the factual knowledge and reasoning operations for given realms of activities. It also requires metacognitive skills for how to organize, monitor, evaluate, and regulate one's thinking processes (Brown, 1984; Flavell, 1978a; Meichenbaum & Asarnow, 1979). Thus, an integral part of effective instruction is teaching students how to regulate their own learning. Metacognition involves thoughts about one's cognitive activities rather than simply higher order cognitive skills. In constructing solutions, people must channel their attention, decipher environmental task demand, draw on relevant factual and operational knowledge, appraise the adequacy and versatility of their skills, conduct tests of their understanding, and evaluate and revise their plans and strategies depending on the results their efforts produce. Operative competence entails improvisation of multiple cognitive, social, affective, and motivational skills.
Adding metacognitive skills broadens the scope of a theory of cognition but still neglects self-referent, affective, and motivational processes that play a vital role in cognitive development and functioning. There is an important difference between metacognitive skills and their effective use. Knowing what to do is only part of the story. Failures in intellectual performance often arise from disuse or deficient use of cognitive and metacognitive skills rather than from lack of knowledge (Flavell, 1970; Bandura, 1986a). People need a sense of efficacy to apply what they know consistently, persistently, and skillfully, especially when things are not going well and deficient performances carry negative consequences. Given appropriate subskills, successful performance is often as much a matter of perceived efficacy as of capability. This is strikingly revealed by the marked differences in how well talented individuals use their knowledge and cognitive skills trader altered efficacy beliefs (Wood & Bandura, 1989a). Theories can be evaluated for the determinants and processes they ignore as well as for those they explain. We will return shortly to a detailed analysis of the scope of theories of educational self-directedness.
Evidence for the contribution of efficacy beliefs to the self-regulation of cognitive development and functioning comes from two lines of inquiry. The first approach is primarily concerned with how task-related strategies are acquired, applied, and monitored for effectiveness. The second approach adopts a broader scope that encompasses not only execution of task strategies but also how people structure for themselves environments conducive to learning and regulate their own motivational, affective, and sociocognitive skills to realize their aspirations. The strategy regulative functions will be considered first, and the broader self-regulatory functions will be reviewed later in this chapter.
That the influence of strategy instruction on intellectual performance is partly mediated through efficacy beliefs is amply documented in a series of studies by Schunk (1989). Children presenting deficiencies in mathematics and reading comprehension are provided with strategy knowledge and taught how to monitor their level of comprehension and take corrective action when necessary. Task strategies enhance level of performance both directly and by raising beliefs of personal efficacy (Schunk & Gunn, 1986). Locke and his colleagues found a similar dual path of influence of strategy instruction on creativeness with level of ability controlled (Locke et al., 1984).
Some theories of human development focus heavily on the self-regulative function of speech. Luria (1961) proposed a three-stage developmental process in which children's behavior is initially regulated by verbal instructions from others. Later, children guide their actions by overt self-instruction and eventually by covert self-instruction. In Vygotsky's (1962) theory, inner speech similarly serves as the principal vehicle of thought and self-direction. A major part of Meichenbanm's (1977; 1984) approach to enhancing human competence is aimed at developing beneficial self-guiding speech. In applications of this type of approach, the cognitive skills are described and then modeled by having models think aloud the thought processes and strategies they are following while solving problems. Individuals then practice verbalizing the modeled plans and strategies as they guide their own problem solving. In addition, they use coping self-instructions to counteract self-debilitating thought patterns when problems arise. Deficient and faulty habits of thought are corrected during this period of overt self-regulation. Individuals then practice the verbal self-guidance covertly. After new skills become routinized, they no longer require conscious guidance unless they fail to produce results.
There are several ways in which verbal self-guidance can enhance competence. Self-guiding speech heightens attentional and rehearsal involvement in the cognitive skills being taught, which can facilitate their learning and retention. But guided self-instruction does more than impart strategy information. To the extent that using the strategies produces good results, it confirms their value. Anticipated benefits produce incentive motivation to apply cognitive aids that work well. In addition, successful self-guidance provides repeated affirmations of personal agency--that one has gained the ability to exercise control over one's own thinking processes and performances.
Self-guidance training has been shown to be a self-efficacy builder in promoting self-expressive-ness through proficient interpersonal communication (Feeteau & Stoppard, 1983). The more the training in self-guidance raises people's beliefs in their efficacy, the greater are their performance attainments. Support for the mediating role of efficacy beliefs in the development of scholastic competencies by instruction in self-guidance is provided by Schunk and his colleagues. Low-achieving children who verbalize cognitive strategies as they solve problems exhibit greater increases in perceived self-efficacy and achieve higher proficiency in mathematics and reading comprehension than do children who are equally trained in the strategies but do not engage in verbal self-guidance (Schunk, 1982b; Schunk & Rice, 1984; 1985). The more extensive the self-guidance, the greater its impact on efficacy beliefs and performance (Schunk & Cox, 1986).
Children who have major language deficiencies require a lot of persuasive evidence to overcome their doubts about their learning capabilities and the instructional value of cognitive strategies. Such students were taught strategies for increasing reading comprehension, practiced verbalizing the strategic steps aloud and fading them to covert self-instruction, and received repeated feedback on the usefulness of the strategies (Schunk & Rice, 1993). Adding practice in internalizing verbal self-guidance and utility feedback increased perceived reading efficacy, use of the strategies, and skill in reading comprehension. Combining verbal fading with utility feedback produced more enduring use of reading strategies. The more the children's efficacy was raised, the more they used the cognitive strategies and the more skilled they became in reading comprehension.
Opportunities to improvise self-guidance convey a more generalized sense of personal causation than self-instruction in strategies provided by others. One can repeat what one bas been told without much understanding or proficiency in adapting cognitive subskills that were taught in variable circumstances. By contrast, improvisation involves the exertion of personal agency. Of course, no amount of improvisational self-talk alone will create cognitive skills where they are grossly lacking. Given information on cognitive operations and strategies, however, improvisational self-guidance produces a higher sense of personal efficacy and intellectual performance than does externally prescribed self-guidance (Schunk, 1982b).
In the previous studies, people are explicitly taught strategies for solving intellectual problems. Many problem-solving activities are more open-ended with regard to means. They usually involve multiple tasks, some of which may be ill-de-fined. There are different possible solutions, some of which work better than others. Sufficing solutions tend to discourage a search for optimal ones (Schwartz, 1982). To complicate matters further, what works well under some circumstances may be ineffective under others. Given such variable conditions, people often have to discover effective strategies on their own. Even established strategies must be adapted to particular circumstances rather than simply applied ritualistically. In managing such situations, people must draw on a reliable knowledge base, use their cognitive skills efficiently to ferret out relevant information, construct options, and test and revise their strategic knowledge based on the results of their decisions.
We saw earlier that perceived efficacy promotes self-generated analytical strategies that benefit performance of complex activities (Wood & Bandura, 1989a). When good results are hard to come by, people with a high sense of efficacy maintain strategic thinking in the search for optimal solutions, whereas those with a weak sense of efficacy have difficulty finding good exploratory strategies and end up deploying their efforts erratically and ineffectively. Janis and Mann (1977) similarly provide evidence that self-doubt following failure prompts a shift to suboptimal strategies. These include inadequate identification and evaluation of options, deficient use of outcome information, and faulty recall of the results of previous efforts. The findings taken as a whole thus indicate that perceived efficacy both facilitates the development of strategies and affects how well they are used once they are acquired.
Impact of Performance Feedback on Perceived Self-Efficacy
During instructional transactions, teachers repeatedly convey evaluations of their students both directly and indirectly. In the explicit evaluations, they rate their students' academic performances, comment on the causes of their success and failures, and compare their standing among their classmates. The more subtle evaluative reactions take diverse forms. They include the differential attention paid to students, what teachers expect of them academically, the standards they set for them, how they group them instructionally, and the difficulty level of the academic tasks they assign to them. Teachers' evaluative reactions can influence students' judgments of their capabilities and scholastic performances (Jones, 1977; Meyer, 1992; Rosenthal, 1978). Not surprisingly, students' appraisal of their academic capabilities are closely related to teachers' judgments of them (Rosenholtz & Simpson, 1984). The way in which school practices filnetion as conveyors of efficacy information will be addressed later. The present analysis is concerned with the efficacy effects of teachers' direct evaluative reactions.
The power of causal evaluations to shape students' efficacy beliefs is demonstrated by Schunk and his co-workers. Crediting children's progress in academic tasks to ability promotes a greater sense of efficacy and achievement than attributing their progress to hard work (Schunk, 1983b; 1984b). Being told that one achieved improvements through one's own efforts raises perceived efficacy and performance achievements more than pursuing the same self-directed learning without any social feedback (Schunk & Cox, 1986). Crediting early progress to ability and later progress to hard work, however, can detract from perceived efficacy and performance if the feedback conveys the impression that improvement by arduous effort signifies that one must be approaching the limits of one's capabilities (Schunk, 1984b; Schunk & Rice, 1986).
Whether effort attributions carry positive or negative efficacy connotations may depend partly on the conceptions of ability within which they are embedded. For people who believe that ability is built through sustained effort, attributions of accomplishments to effort will enhance efficacy. But those who believe that ability is an inherent aptitude, and thus not subject to much personal control, are likely to question their efficacy upon being told that their improvements were due to hard work. People differ in their conceptions of ability and whether they view effort as creating ability or as compensating for low ability (M. Bandura & Dweck, 1988; Dweck, 1991; Surber, 1984). Therefore, feedback that credits attainments to effort will have more variable effects on efficacy beliefs and performance than crediting attainments to personal capabilities. As in other sources of influence, efficacy beliefs altered by different types of attributional feedback are good predictors of academic achievement.
Causal evaluations given to entire classes of students affect their sense of efficacy and mathematical achievements in much the same way as when the feedback is given on an individual basis (O'Sullivan & Harvey, 1993). Classes who are told that their progress reflects ability for the subject matter markedly increase their sense of efficacy and outperform classes whose achievements are ascribed to high effort. Effort attributions do not do much for perceived efficacy, accuracy of self-appraisal, or mathematical achievement. Indeed, students in a low ability class who are led to construe their improvements as signs of growing ability eventually match the level of perceived efficacy and mathematical achievement of more able students whose performances are credited to hard work.
The inconsistent effects of effort attributions on efficacy beliefs and performance raise questions about attribution retraining in which low-achieving students are told that their performances are due to how hard they work to get them to perform better. Since effort is personally controllable, such feedback presumably motivates them to greater achievements. This approach may be fine in theory, but it is inconsistent in results. For individuals seriously lacking requisite subskills, to keep telling them in a roundabout way that they should work harder without providing them with the means to translate effort to success eventually can be demoralizing. They've heard that sermonette many times before. Nor can one keep telling students who are encountering considerable difficulties that they are highly talented. Under such conditions, perceived efficacy is best promoted by ascribing failures to lack of knowledge and cognitive skills that are acquirable and by using guided mastery with proximal sub-goals to highlight the growth of personal capabilities. Focusing on the acquirable means to mastery provides instructive guidance and more persuasive evidence of aptitude than simply ascribing performance to effort or to inherent ability. The evidence also raises concerns over the way in which ability and effort are usually construed in attribution theory--ability as a stable disposition and effort as a changeable factor. In point of fact, people vary in their conceptions of ability (M. Bandura & Dweck, 1988). Construing ability as an inherent aptitude tends to undermine self-development of capabilities (Jourden et al., 1991; Wood & Bandura, 1989b). In contrast, viewing ability as an acquirable skill fosters a resilient sense of efficacy, adoption of challenging personal aspirations, proficient analytical thinking, and performance attainments.
Another form of teacher feedback that carries efficacy implications highlights the quality of academic work. This is illustrated in studies of self-regulated productivity in which students can earn grade bonuses by voluntarily constructing items of inquiry for the subject matter they are studying (Tuckman & Sexton, 1991). Feedback that one's work is of good quality progressively raises perceived efficacy, which, in turn, predicts subsequent performance. In contrast, factual feedback of how much work one produced without reference to its quality improves neither perceived efficacy nor level of productivity.
Social cognitive theory advocates a multifaceted approach to promoting student achievement as an alternative to the approach prescribed by attribution theory. Ability is construed as a changeable attribute over which one can exercise some control. Guided mastery serves as the principal vehicle for the cultivation of competencies (Bandura, 1986a). In this enablement approach, cognitive modeling and instructional aids are used to convey the relevant knowledge and strategies in graduated steps. A variety of opportunities are provided for guided practice in when and how to use cognitive strategies in the solution of diverse problems. The level of social guidance is progressively reduced as competencies are being acquired. Activities, incentives, and personal challenges are structured in ways that ensure self-involving motivation and continual improvement. Growing proficiencies are credited to expanding personal capabilities. Self-directed mastery experiences are then arranged to strengthen and generalize a sense of personal efficacy. Each of these modes of influence is structured in ways that build self-regulative capabilities for exploratory learning and strengthen students' beliefs that they can exercise some control over their intellectual self-development.
Guided mastery by mutual structuring of environments conducive to growth of knowledge, com-petencies, and affirmative self-beliefs bears some likeness to Vygotskian tutoring by social guidance. Social cognitive theory, however, specifies motivational and self-regulatory mechanisms that provide numerous guidelines for promoting cognitive development. Moreover, social cognitive theory focuses more on evolvement of agency as central to personal development than on internalization of social functions as private self-regulators. The agentic view addresses itself to how people construe, select, and construct learning environments. As documented in this chapter, the social genesis of cognitive compe-tencies encompasses much more than collaborative instruction. Although much learning is socially situated, after people develop self-regulatory capabilities, they learn a lot on their own.
Cognitive development, of course, is situated in sociocultural practices. These influences operate interactively through familial, peer, educational, neighborhood, media, and other cultural subsystems. For all too long, cognitive development was regarded as an intrapsychic activity largely severed from its social roots. Proclamations that human development and functioning are socially situated are no longer newsworthy, however. Significant advances require moving beyond this truism to verification of the paths of influence through which these various sociocultural practices exert their effects. These causal structures are addressed in succeeding sections of this chapter.
Self-Efficacy in Self-Regulated Cognitive Development
Development of capabilities for self-directedness enables individuals not only to continue their intellectual growth beyond their formal education but to advance the nature and quality of their life pursuits. Changing realities are placing a premium on the capability for self-directed learning throughout the life span. The rapid pace of technological change and the accelerated growth of knowledge require continual upgrading of competencies if people are to survive and prosper under increasingly competitive conditions. Moreover, people are now living much longer than previous generations did. Self-development with age partly determines whether fl#e expanded life span is lived self-fulfillingly or apathetically. These changing realities call for lifelong learners.
As students progress in their education, they are expected to become more self-directing in their learning. Not all do so. Teachers face the challenge of adapting their instruction to students' differing levels of educational self-directedness in ways that build underdeveloped self-regulatory skills (Grow, 1991). Analyses of the role of self-regulation in the acquisition of knowledge and cognitive skills have been largely confined to enhancement of academic learning by use of task-related metacognitive strategies. In this approach to self-regulation, metacogni-five thought is usually categorized into declarative or factual knowledge and procedural knowledge about the steps involved in solving problems. There is a major difference, however, between possessing knowledge and being capable of proficient action. Knowledge and cognitive skills are likewise necessary but not sufficient for academic attainments. Students often know what to do but cannot translate that knowledge into proficient performance. Even if they can make skilled translations of knowledge, they often fare poorly when left on their own because they cannot get themselves to put in the necessary effort to fullfill difficult task demands.
One of the major advances in the study of lifelong cognitive development concerns the mechanisms of self-regulated learning. Metacognitive theorists have addressed the pragmatics of self-regulation in terms of selecting appropriate strategies, testing one's comprehension and state of knowledge, correcting one's deficiencies, and recognizing the utility of cognitive strategies (Brown, 1984; Paris & Newman, 1990). Metacognitive training aids academic learning. Such training contains a number of different ingredients. The independent contribution of expected utility and self-correction skills to academic achievement and their transfer-ability to situations where students have to assume major responsibility for their own learning has yet to be systematically tested. There is every reason to believe that adding these forms of self-management to strategy instruction improves scholastic learning. But self-corrective use of cognitive strategies is only a small part of the way in which people regulate their own cognitive development and functioning.
Social cognitive theory integrates the cognitive, metacognitive, and motivational mechanisms of self-regulation (Bandura, 1986a). This theory expands the conception of self-regulation in two directions. First, it incorporates a larger set of self-regulatory mechanisms governing cognitive functioning. Second, it encompasses social and motivational skills as well as cognitive ones. As mentioned briefly before, knowledge structures are translated into proficient performances through a conception-matching process that includes both transformational and generative operations (Bandura, 1989b). In academic learning, this process involves comparing what one knows against the level of understanding one seeks and then acquiring the requisite knowledge.
It is commonly acknowledged that self-directed learning requires motivation as well as cognitive and metacognitive strategies. Motivation is a general construct that encompasses a system of self-regulatory mechanisms. Attempts to explain the motivational sources of behavior must specify the determinants and intervening mechanisms that govern the three main features of motivation: selection, activation, and sustained direction of behavior toward certain goals (Bandura, 1991b). All too often, interlinked facets of a motivational mechanism are fractionated into separate constructs drawn from divergent theories. The medley of constructs then gets called integrative theorizing.
The motivational facet of self-directed learning encompasses a variety of interlinked self-referent processes including self-monitoring, self-efficacy appraisal, personal goal setting, outcome expectations, and affective self-reactions. These component activities promote engrossment in academic activities through investment of the self-system in them. Moreover, cognitive development and functioning are embedded in social relations. Skill in using social resources and managing the social consequences of one's school experiences, therefore, is another important facet of self-directed learning. The various forms the social aspects take will be considered later.
Zimmerman (1989, 1990) has been the leading exponent of an expanded model of academic self-regulation. Viewed within the conceptual framework of social cognitive theory, people must develop skills to regulate the motivational, affective, and social determinants of their intellectual functioning as well as the cognitive aspects. This requires bringing self-influence to bear on every aspect of their learning experiences. To begin with, students must learn how to select and structnre environmental settings in ways that are conducive to learning. Choosing a regular time and place to work on academic activities increases the chances that they will get done. Other strategic aids to learning involve study strategies of how to condense, paraphrase, and synthesize relevant information for future use. Daily life presents a wide array of social and recreational activities that can be considerably more attractive than struggling with academic assignments, many of which include their share of vexations. The imbalance of attraction disfavoring scholastic matters is particularly great at the earlier levels of education and among older students who do not view academic pursuits as their calling. If study is to triumph over inviting competitors, students have to mobilize and sustain their motivation for academic pursuits. In the exercise of self-directedness (Bandura, 1986a, 1991c), people monitor their learning activities, set goals and performance standards for themselves, and enlist self-incentives by making engagement in leisure activities contingent on completing academic assignments.
Because self-regulation involves temporary self-denial of inviting activities, it might appear at first sight to be self-inflicted drudgery. In analyzing the regulation of behavior by personally marshaled motivators, however, one must distinguish between two sources of incentives. First, there are the conditional self-incentives that provide guides and proximal motivators for pursuing particular activities. Second, there are the more distal personal benefits of attainments that create incentives to exercise self-regulative influence. Self-incentives enable people to develop potentialities and competencies that serve them well in their everyday life. With growing efficacy comes increased attraction to academic activities and a rewarding sense of fulfillment through personal accomplishments. Indeed, perceived efficacy and interest may develop to the point where academic pursuits eventually surpass other activities in attractiveness.
In managing task demands, people who have developed their self-regulatory capacity not only do what needs to be done more efficiently but spare themselves a lot of needless strain, Failure to complete academic assignments makes educational pursuits aversive. Failure to perform the tasks of one's trade well and on time makes occupational pursuits stressful and insecure. When self-regulatory skills are lacking, people defer tasks to the last moment and do them minimally or not at all. Competencies that can be cultivated only through sustained effort remain underdeveloped. Moreover, when people procrastinate in doing required tasks, thoughts about what they are putting off continuously intrude on, and detract from, their enjoyment of other activities they are pursuing. Those who can mobilize themselves to get things done are spared such intrusive self-reminders. Self-directedness thus provides an important and continuing source of personal satisfaction, interest, and well being. Without aspirations and evaluative involvement in activities, people remain unmotivated, bored, and underdeveloped in their capabilities.
The critical role of self-regulation in human accomplishments is nowhere better illustrated than in the writing habits of successful novelists. They must depend on their own self-discipline if they are going to get much writing done because they have no resident supervisors issuing directives and overseeing daily writing activities. As Wallace and Pear (1977) clearly document, novelists influence how much they write by making the pursuit of other activities contingent on either completing a certain amount of writing each day or writing for a designated length of time. Most acclaimed novelists write regularly for a fixed number of hours per day. For example, once he launched a novel, Jack London wrote a thousand words per day, six days a week, whether inspired or not. Hemingway, who closely monitored his daily writing output, demanded more of himself on days preceding his fishing trips (Plimpton, 1965). As these examples illustrate, in self-directed pursuits, people must exercise personal discipline if they are to accomplish what they seek. Considerable research shows that both children and adults accomplish much more with the exercise of self-regulative influence than without it (Bandura, 1986a).
Another aspect of self-directed learning centers on the cognitive skills needed to make academic subjects more understandable, recallable, and usable. The strategic skills needed to exercise control over one's own learning and memory processes take three different forms. The first involves information-processing skills for identifying important information, transforming it to improve its meaningfulness, organizing it into easily recallable and generalizable forms, and rehearsing what has been learned (Bauer, 1987; Palincsar & Brown, 1989; Paris, Gross, & Lipson, 1984; Weinstein & Mayer, 1986). In addition to skills for acquiring knowledge, students need cognitive operational skills for structuring problems in ways that specify goals and possible routes to them, selecting appropriate strategies, and applying them effectively to solve the problems. The operational thinking about how to frame the problems, construct appropriate solutions, and translate them to action constitutes the second form of cognitive guidance. Evidence that efficacy beliefs mediate the influence of task-related strategies on learning and cognitive functioning has already been reviewed (Wood & Bandura, 1989a). The third cognitive means by which academic learning is self-regulated is through the use of metacognitive skills (Brown, 1984; Flavell, 1979).
Much confusion has been created by the failure to distinguish between cognition and meta-cognition. Metacognition has traditionally been defined as general knowledge about cognitive processes and their conscious control, but the term is now widely applied to almost any rules or strategies. In this overextended usage, metacognition is essentially indistinguishable from cognition, and the meta prefix becomes superfluous. In the sociocognitive framework, metacognition refers to cognitive appraisal and control of one's cognitive activity; that is, thinking about the adequacy of one's own thinking. In metacognitive functioning, individuals monitor their regulative thought; evaluate its adequacy in the solution of problems; and, if necessary, make corrective adjustments in the way in which they structure problems, construct solutions, and select strategies to implement them. In short, using regulative thought to guide action and self-reflective thought to guide the regulative thought represents separable levels of cognitive control.
The cognitive aspects of self-regulated learning cannot be divorced from the motivational and self-reactive aspects. One can have serviceable cognitive and metacognitive skills, but they will contribute little to performance if one cannot get oneself to use them. It is commonly assumed that metacognitive training produces widespread improvement in performance, because the generic skills taught can be readily applied to differing tasks in diverse settings. Evidence reaffirms that there are no easy solutions to the transferability of skills. Although metacognitive training aids learning, it usually delivers less than it promises when assessed in terms of transferability and habitual use of skills (Deshler, Warner, Schumaker, & Alley, 1983; Tharp & Gallimore, 1985). Learned cognitive skills and strategies tend to be applied to tasks and contexts in which they were developed but are not necessarily transferred spontaneously to dissimilar pursuits. Nor does metacognitive training necessarily ensure their continued use. People learn cognitive skills but do not always use them regularly.
It is a common finding that people who learn rules in the abstract do a poor job of applying them to particular situations (Nisbett, 1993; Rosenthal & Zimmerman, 1978). Teaching abstract rules with applications to everyday examples produces greater use of rules than does abstract rule instruction or concrete applications alone. Although some cognitive skills are highly generalizable, many are specific to particular domains of functioning. Metacognitive training that teaches students much about cognitive processes but little about how to apply cognitive operations to particular problems may not achieve much. Some researchers are retreating to an even higher abstraction by seeking regulators of cognitive functioning in meta-metacognition (Kitchener, 1983)- the extended lineage of metas takes the form of epistemic thinking about the adequacy of one's self-reflective thinking about one's self-reflective thinking! The issue in question is not the existence of high-level thinking but the proliferation of metas. Grafting another level of cognitive oversight will not solve the difficulties of deficient cognitive control of problem solving.
To promote transferability of cognitive skills, people need repeated experiences in applying their knowledge and skills to diverse tasks in diverse settings. To ensure continued use of cognitive skills and strategies, people need repeated demonstrations of their effectiveness. Simply instructing people in self-regulative processes and strategies will not automatically instill them. People need to learn how to monitor their functioning and the effects it produces and how to structure motivating challenges and self-incentives. These different affirmative experiences must be structured in ways that instill a strong sense of personal efficacy to master intellectual task demands when successes do not come easily.
People do not develop their knowledge and their cognitive competencies entirely by themselves. In gaining mastery over difficult subject matter, they must seek academic assistance from time to time from knowledgeable adults and classmates to gain important information they lack. Social cognitive theory acknowledges the social nature of self-regulated development. Newman (1991) distinguishes seeking academic assistance in the service of self-development from simply soliciting help to complete assignments. Effective self-regulators seek needed information from others to achieve higher levels of mastery self-directedly. This form of social assistance requires effective exercise of self-directedness. Students must monitor their level of understanding and problem-solving activities to know when further independent effort will prove unproductive and they must turn to knowledgeable others for help. To enhance their competency, they have to figure out what information they lack, how best to frame their inquiry, from whom to seek assistance, and how to overrule any social hesitancy they feel to do so. As students progress to the high school level, the sources of assistance on which they rely shift from parents to teachers, especially for students who have a high sense of academic efficacy (Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1990). Thus, the final set of strategies for self-regulated learning includes the social skills needed to secure information from others about problematic matters.
Zimmerman and Martinez-Pons (1986, 1988) measured the extent to which high school students used the multifaceted strategies for self-regulated learning in different contexts--in the classroom, when preparing scholastic assignments at home, in studying for examinations, and when poorly motivated. High academic achievers make much greater use of all the self-regulative strategies than do low achievers. By managing their own learning, good self-regulators do much better academically than poor self-regulators. Self-regulative strategies account for variation in achievement in both language and mathematics even when the effects of gender and socioeconomic status are removed. Low achievers rely mainly on rote memorization, which does not produce much learning that is transferable to different situations (Pintrich & DeCroot, 1990). The instructional benefits of self-management are corroborated in experimental research (Young, 1996). Students skilled in self-regulation learn much more than their less skilled counterparts from computer-based instruction when they can control the type and amount of information needed to master a given subject area. Children who are good at managing their own learning activities have parents who cultivate such capabilities by modeling, guiding, and rewarding self-directedness (Martinez-Pons, 1996). These parental efforts affect academic attainments through their children's acquired self-regulatory capabilities rather than directly.
It is one thing to possess self-regulative skills but another to be able to adhere to them in taxing situations when activities hold little interest or allurements are beckoning. An unwavering sense of efficacy is needed to overrule such subverters of self-regulative efforts. Zimmerman, Bandura, and Martinez-Pons (1992) provide evidence of this fact. High school students, predominantly minorities, were tested for belief in their personal efficacy to execute the different facets of self-regulation. These included their ability to structure environments conducive to learning, to plan and organize their academic activities, to use cognitive strategies to gain better understanding and memory of the material being taught, to obtain information and get teachers and peers to help them when needed, to motivate themselves to do their school work, to get themselves to complete scholastic assignments within deadlines, and to pursue academic activities when there are competing interesting things to do. Interestingly, students registered the highest perceived efficacy to manage the content aspects of instruction but a low sense of efficacy to manage themselves to get their academic activities done. Indeed, they expressed their lowest sense of efficacy to stick to academic tasks when there were other interesting things to do. Thus, the aspect of self-directed learning that plays a pivotal role in academic achievement--the ability to mobilize, direct, and sustain one's instructional efforts- has been sorely neglected. Neither cognitive processing skills nor metacognitive skills will accomplish much if students cannot get themselves to do academic assignments. A strong sense of efficacy to regulate one's motivation and instructional activities undergirds belief in one's academic efficacy and aspirations.
In this study, the contributory role of perceived self-regulatory efficacy in academic achievement was examined within a broader causal structure that included prior academic achievement, parental goals for their children's academic pursuits, and children's beliefs in their ability to master academic subject matter and the academic goals they set for themselves. These factors were assessed at the beginning of the semester and related to academic achievement at the end of the semester. Figure 6.3 shows the paths of influence. The higher the students' self-regulatory efficacy, the more confident they were in their efficacy to master academic subjects. In accord with the pattern of influence in other domains of functioning, efficacy beliefs promoted academic achievement both directly and by raising personal goals. When the effects of children's self-influence were controlled, their prior academic achievement was significantly linked only to parental goal setting. The parents' aspirations, in turn, influenced academic achievement only indirectly through their effects on their children's personal goals. The findings of this research add to our understanding of how beliefs in one's self-regulatory efficacy operate in concert with personal aspirations to contribute to academic accomplishments. Evidence that children base their academic aspirations on their efficacy beliefs as well as on the standards their parents set for them has significant implications for parental guidance of educational development. It is not enough for parents simply to set academic standards for their children. Unless parents also help to build their children's sense of efficacy, the children are likely to view high standards as beyond their reach and disregard them.
Skill in formulating ideas and expressing them well in written form is an important contributor to success in all ,types of academic and occupational pursuits. All too often, promising ideas are mangled, if not massacred, by a deadening impenetrable prose. Writing presents special challenges to self-regulation (Bandura, 1986a; Bereiter & Scardamella, 1987; Wason, 1980). This is because writing activities are usually self-scheduled, are performed alone, and require creative effort sustained over long periods with all-too-frequent stretches of barren results. What is eventually produced must be revised repeatedly to fulfill personal standards of quality. Not surprisingly, even professional writers must resort to varied techniques of self-discipline to promote their writing activities (Barzon, 1964; Got#id, 1980; Plimpton, 1965; Wallace & Pear, 1977).
FIGURE 6.3. Path analysis of the influence of perceived self-efficacy and parents' and children's academic aspirations on children's academic achievement. (Zimmerman, Bandura, & Martinez-Pons, 1984a)
Mediational analyses attest to the influential role of efficacy beliefs in writing activities. The effects of gender and writing aptitude on quality of writing are largely mediated by efficacy beliefs. The higher the students' beliefs in their writing capabilities, the less apprehensive they are about writing, the more useful they regard such skills for personal accomplishments, and the better are their writing performances (Pajares & Valiante, in press). Instruction in writing strategies and verbal self-guidance has been shown to enhance perceived writing efficacy and improve the schematic structure and quality of compositions (Graham & Harris, 1989a, 1989b; Schunk & Swartz, 1993).
Research on the development of writing proficiency further clarifies how efficacy beliefs operate in conjunction with other self-regulatory influences in the mastery of this vital skill (Zimmerman & Bandura, 1994). Instruction in creative writing builds students' sense of efficacy to produce written work and to get themselves to do it. Self-efficacy is weakest for taking the first steps in writing a piece. A sense of efficacy to regulate writing activities affects writing attainments through several paths of influence (Fig. 6.4). It strengthens efficacy beliefs for academic activities and personal standards for the quality, of writing considered self-satisfying. Verbal aptitude affects writing attainments only indirectly by raising personal standards of writing, which, in turn, raises goals for mastering the craft of writing. The increased sense of academic efficacy promotes writing attainments both directly and by heightening writing aspirations.
As with other types of skills, self-regulatory skills will not contribute much if students cannot get themselves to apply them persistently in the face of difficulties, stressors, and competing attractions. Within the sociocognitive framework of bidirectional causality, acquisition of cognitive subskills strengthens beliefs in one's academic efficacy (Ban-dura & Schunk, 1981). Both academic and self-regulatory efficacy, in turn, have reciprocal effects on cognitive and metacognitive learning strategies. Compared to students low in perceived self-efficacy, those who have a high sense of academic efficacy make greater use of cognitive strategies, manage their time and learning environments better, and monitor and regulate their learning more closely (Pintrich & Schrauben, 1992). A high sense of academic efficacy similarly is accompanied by extensive use of self-directed learning strategies (Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1990).
There are gradations of prescriptiveness for self-regulation of cognitive development. The preceding analyses were primarily concerned with managing one's own learning of subject matter being taught at school. Here, the failures in self-directedness rooted in perceived inefficacy occur despite repeated external pressure to fulfill academic assignments. Greater self-initiative is called for under conditions in which teachers provide students with opportunities to raise their academic attainments by performing cognitive tasks on their own without being required to do so. Those who believe strongly in their own efficacy exploit the opportunities through highly productive engagement in the supplementary cognitive activities (Tuckman & Sexton, 1990). By contrast, those who do not believe in their own efficacy cannot get themselves to put in the effort, and so they accomplish little supplementary work. Even additional inducements in the form of personal commitments and shared group benefits do little to override the disbelievers' self-doubts (Tuckman, 1990).
The highest level of self-initiative in the exercise of self-regulatory efficacy involves learning on one's own subjects that are neither taught at school nor socially imposed. A major aim of education is to prepare students to continue self-directed learning throughout their lifetimes. Indeed, many people actively pursue self-instruction to gain new knowledge and cultivate skills either to enrich their lives or to advance their careers. Despite its importance, self-instruction outside the school setting has not received the attention it deserves (Tough, 1981). It requires greater personal resourcefulness to be self-taught than to master activities that are structured and guided by others. Not surprisingly, students have a much lower sense of efficacy for self-instruction beyond the confines of the school than for formal instruction in school (Bergin, 1987). But the more strongly they believe in their efficacy to teach themselves, the more they get involved in extracurricular self-instructional pursuits. With ready access to prime instruction on the Internet, self-regulated learning outside the confines of the school will play an increasingly influential role in the educational development of students. The interplay of self-instruction and school-based instruction clearly warrants increased study.
FIGURE 6.4. Path analysis of the pattern of influence through which cognitive self-regulatory factors mediate the impact of writing instruction on the development of writing proficiency. (Zimmerman & Bandura, 1994).
Peer Influences in the Social Construction and Validation of Self-Efficacy
Peers can operate as a potent force in the development and social validation of intellectual self-efficacy. This source of influence tends to increase in importance as children grow older. There are several ways in which peers contribute to the social construction of intellectual self-efficacy. h# their academic work, students receive a great deal of comparative information about their capabilities from grading practices and teachers' evaluations of their scholastic performances (Marshall & Wienstein, 1984; Rosenholtz & Simpson, 1984). These unremitting ability evaluations shape students' collective appraisals of one another. Even in the absence of teachers' appraisals, students can readily judge how well they perform compared to others and their rate of progress on similar academic tasks. As a result, there is high consensus among peers in their perceptions of one another's relative abilities. The peer comparisons go beyond private perceptions. Students publicly label, rank, and discuss with one another how smart their classmates are. Shared social appraisals serve as persuasory modes of influence on beliefs of personal efficacy. Thus, students' self-appraisals of their intellectual capabilities are closely related to the appraisals by their peers. Classroom structures that prescribe similar academic tasks for all students, group them by achievement level, and permit them little choice of activities to show their particular talents lend themselves to stable ability ranking. The more educational practices are structured along these monolithic lines, the greater the consensus about students' ability levels and the more closely students' self-appraisals of their abilities match their teachers' and classmates' evaluations of them (Rosenholtz & Wilson, 1980).
Peers also shape efficacy beliefs by their instructive function. Students learn much from one another through direct tutelage and modeling of academic proficiencies. In formal tests of this facet of peer influence, students with academic deficits observe videotaped peer models verbalize appropriate cognitive skills and strategies as they perform academic tasks (Schunk & Hanson, 1989b). Peer modeling of academic skills raises students' beliefs in their efficacy for learning, their efficacy for the subject matter, and their actual achievement. Students generally gain more from coping peer models shown developing their cognitive skills and self-assurance than from masterly peer models exhibiting high proficiency from the outset. Evidence for the superiority of coping modeling, however, is weak and equivocal (Schunk & Hanson, 1985, 1989b; Schunk et al, 1987). In seeking to acquire functional skills, children seem to weight heavily the competence of peer models regardless of their initial level of skills. The more similar they perceive themselves to be in competence to the peer models, the more firmly they believe in their learning efficacy and the higher the intellectual performances they achieve.
Modeling influences do not transmit competencies unless observers attend to the relevant information and process it cognitively into recallable and widely usable forms (Bandura, 1986a). Given large perceived disparities in expertise, children are likely to view skills exemplified by an experienced model as beyond their reach and are thus disinclined to invest the effort needed to master them fully. Perceived dissimilarity is, of course, considerably greater in relation to teacher models than even to masterly peer models. Exposure to peers modeling cognitive skills, therefore, boosts children's sense of efficacy and achievement more than observing teachers modeling the same cognitive skills (Schunk & Hanson, 1985).
Peer modeling can alter efficacy beliefs through the influence of social comparison independently of any skill transmission. Knowledge of modeled successes by social equals boosts individuals' appraisals of their own capabilities, whereas modeled failures tend to leave them shaken about their own prospects. Efficacy beliefs instilled by social comparison alone can influence performance through their major mediating processes--by affecting level of effort, perseverance, cognitive efficiency, choice predilections, and stress and demoralization. In studies verifying these mediating mechanisms in cognitive functioning, observers are informed of how well others are performing without knowing the means by which they do so (Ban-dura & Jourden, 1991; Brown & Inouye, 1978). Thus, social comparative information is the sole source of influence. Comparative efficacy appraisals affect how well children use cognitive strategies they have been taught. Among children equally instructed in cognitive strategies, those who are led to believe that their peers achieve high success using them exhibit a higher sense of efficacy and intellectually outperform their counterparts who are told nothing about peer attainments (Schunk & Gunn, 1985).
The final way in which peers shape personal efficacy for academic pursuits is by influencing interpersonal affiliations. The peers with whom one associates partly determine which potentialities will be cultivated and which will be left undeveloped. The way in which peer affiliations can affect the entire course of intellectual development is shown in studies of children from impoverished backgrounds who went on to college and professional careers at a time when it required overcoming daunting barriers to do so (Ellis & Lane, 1963; Krauss, 1964). In these families, the parents themselves could not provide the necessary resources and preparatory academic skills because of their limited schooling. However, a parent or a family acquaintance who valued education highly usually played a key role in setting the course of these children's intellectual development during their formative years. The valuation of education they instilled was further developed by teachers who took special interest in the children's talents. These evolving value preferences led to selective association with college-oriented peers who, by their interest and example, promoted attitudes, achievement standards, and sociocognitive skills conducive to intellectual pursuits. Efficacy beliefs are both products and determiners of peer affiliations. The processes by which a sense of intellectual efficacy can influence scholastic development through its effects on interpersonal ties are analyzed in a later section of this chapter.
Perceived Self-Efficacy and Academic Anxiety
Academic activities are often infused with perturbing elements. Many parents impose on their children stringent academic demands that are difficult to fulfill. Accomplishments that fall short of those standards are devalued and lead to unpleasantness at home. A similar drama is played out in schools, where academic deficiencies displease teachers and lower status and evaluation by one's peers. To add further to the stress, students who adopt stringent standards for themselves, as indeed many do, must contend with self-censuring reactions to their own substandard performances as well as with the reactions of others.
The stakes become considerably higher at upper levels of schooling where performance grades determine entry to future pursuits that affect life courses. To excel academically opens up a wide range of options for career development. Academic deficiencies foreclose many life paths and erect barriers to others that are difficult to surmount. To add to the strain, scholastic and occupational life paths have become more fiercely competitive and more demanding of higher levels of cognitive skills. There is less leeway for missteps along the way. Many of the opportunities lost through school failure become essentially irretrievable. As a result, for most children, the social pressures for academic achievement are exerted much earlier and more passionately than ever before. In short, there is a lot to be anxious about in scholastic life.
Students who have a low sense of efficacy to manage academic demands are especially vulnerable to achievement anxiety. Rather than concentrate on how to master the knowledge and cognitive skills being taught, they magnify the formidableness of the tasks and their personal inadequacies, ruminate about their past failures, worry about the calamitous consequences of failing, imagine perturbing scenarios of things to come, and otherwise think themselves into emotional distress and faulty performances (Sarason, 1975a; Wine, 1982).
The influence of efficacy beliefs on anxiety over scholastic activities has been examined most extensively in relation to mathematics, which is a common source of apprehension among students. A low sense of mathematical efficacy is accompanied by high math anxiety both concurrently and longitudinally (Betz & Hackett, 1983; Krampen, 1988). Past performance experiences with mathematics do not affect anxiety directly. Rather, the impact of past successes and failures on anxiety is mediated entirely through their effects on beliefs of personal efficacy (Meece, Wigfield, & Eccles, 1990). If failures weaken students' sense of efficacy, they become anxious about scholastic demands, but if their efficacy beliefs are unshaken by failures, they remain unperturbed. The self-efficacy mediation of the emotional effects of failure in intellectual activities is further corroborated by Wortman and her co-workers (Wortman et al., 1976). Students are left anxious by repeated failures when they view them as due to personal incapabilities, but they are unruffled by failures when they construe them as due to situational factors. Although female students are more mistrustful of their mathematical capabilities and experience higher anxiety than do males, efficacy beliefs mediate the effect of past scholastic experiences on anxiety in the same way for both gender groups (Meece et al., 1990). At the college level, a low sense of efficacy to manage the academic demands and interpersonal aspects of college life is accompanied by high levels of anxiety and stress-related physical symptomatology (Sol-berg, O'Brien, Villareal, Kennel, & Davis, 1993). Parental and peer support bolsters personal efficacy to cope with college stressors.
In the preceding analyses, scholastic anxiety, is examined solely as a function of perceived self-efficacy to fulfill academic demands. Much of the distress over scholastic matters is cognitively generated by perturbing anticipatory thought. This self-perturbing focus is exacerbated in test situations where disruptive thought continuously intrudes on, and impairs, academic performances. Thought control efficacy is an integral part of the sociocognitive theory of anxiety arousal. The full impact of perceived self-efficacy on academic anxiety is best revealed by multifaceted assessment of belief in one's efficacy to fulfill academic demands, to exercise control over intrusive thinking, to ameliorate experienced distress, and to regulate one's study activities. Smith, Arnkoff, and Wright (1990) report that, in addition to faulty study habits and perturbing thinking, a low sense of efficacy to manage one's study activities and examination stressors contributes to scholastic anxiety. Different studies use different bits of personal efficacy, but the full scope of this determinant is rarely measured.
Chapter 8 will present a large body of evidence demonstrating that, in activities posing threats, anxiety and impaired performances are coeffects of a low sense of coping efficacy, rather than anxiety causing impaired performances. This finding is replicated in academic activities as well. Students' beliefs in their efficacy to master academic subjects predicts their subsequent academic attainments, whereas their level of scholastic anxiety bears little or no relationship to their academic performances (Pintrich & DeCroot, 1990; Siegel et al., 1985). When anxiety correlates with academic performance, the relation usually disappears or is markedly diminished when the influence of perceived self-efficacy is removed (Pajares, in press; Pajares & Johnson, 1994; Pajares & Valiente, in press).
These findings carry important implications for how to alleviate scholastic anxiety. Such anxiety is best allayed not by anxiety palliatives but by building a strong sense of efficacy through development of cognitive capabilities and generalizable self-regulatory skills for managing academic task demands, self-debilitating thought patterns, and aversive affective states. The research already reviewed provides many treatment strategies for enhancing perceived scholastic efficacy through cognitive skill development. The competency development aspect of treatment is essential for students who are handicapped by extensive cognitive deficits. Development of self-regulatory efficacy provides the means for improving one's cognitive skills and for controlling self-impairing thought processes and emotional states (Rosenthal, 1980; Smith, 1980).
The multifaceted treatment of scholastic anxiety devised by Smith (1980) addresses the situational, cognitive, affective, and skill aspects of the problem. Students are taught effective self-instruction techniques, how to manage their time and available academic resources better, how to structure their environment in ways conducive to study, and how to motivate themselves through goal setting and contingent use of self-incentives. Students are also taught cognitive coping strategies that encourage more benign appraisals of academic stressors and enlist cognitive self-guidance through supportive self-instruction and cognitive rehearsal of strategies for dealing with problem situations. Finally, to ameliorate aversive physical arousal by stressful anticipation or threatening situations, students master stress-reduction techniques by visualizing taxing situations and alleviating their anxiety reactions by relaxing and supplanting stressful thought patterns. Training in these generalizable self-regulatory skills raises the perceived efficacy of students whose academic performances are impaired by self-debilitating reactions to academic stressors (Smith, 1989). The more their sense of efficacy is raised, the greater is the reduction in their anxiety and the more they improve their grades.
Impact of Cognitive Self-Efficacy on Developmental Trajectories
So far, the analyses have been confined to the effects of perceived cognitive efficacy on academic aspirations, motivation, intrinsic interest, and level of academic attainment. Children's intellectual development cannot be isolated from the social relations within which it is embedded or from its interpersonal effects. It must be analyzed from a social perspective. A secure sense of intellectual and self-regulatory efficacy not only promotes academic successes but also is influential in fostering satisfying and supportive social relationships and positive emotional development. Children who are considerate of their peers and are accepted by them are more likely to experience a favorable school environment as conducive to learning than are children who behave in socially alienating ways and are repeatedly rejected by their peers. A negative emotional and social life can erode a sense of intellectual efficacy and self-worth. Despondency undermines academic performance (Nolen-Hoeksema, Girgus, & Seligman, 1986). Moreover, students who doubt their intellectual efficacy tend to gravitate to peers who devalue academic pursuits. Disengagement from academic activities often means engagement in a constellation of problem behaviors that jeopardize the prospects of a successful future (Jessor, Donovan, & Costa, 1991; Patterson et al., 1984).
Not all children who experience academic difficulties display troublesome patterns of behavior. In the course of socialization, children adopt social and moral standards that serve as guides and deterrents for conduct. The sanctions children apply to themselves keep conduct in line with internal standards. Self-sanctions do not operate unless they are activated, however, and there are many psychological processes by which self-restraints can be disengaged from detrimental conduct. Personal control is selectively disengaged by reconstructing negative conduct as serving worthy purposes, obscuring personal agency by diffusion or displacement of responsibility, disregarding or minimizing the enormous consequences of one's actions, and blaming and dehumanizing those who are mistreated (Bandura, 1991d; Bandura, Barbaranelli, Gaprata, & Pastorelli, 1996b). Propensity to disengage restraining self-sanctions from detrimental conduct increases the likelihood that academic inefficacy will give rise to aggressive and other forms of socially alienating conduct.
Social cognitive theory adopts an ecological perspective on the contribution of efficacy beliefs to cognitive and social development. Chapters 1 through 6 have provided a wealth of information about the separate impact of family, educational, and peer influences on the development of personal efficacy and its various regulative functions. Further research elucidates how they operate together as multiple interacting influences in shaping the course of children's development (Ban-dura, Barbaranelli, Caprara, & Pastorelli, 1996a). Fignre 6.5 summarizes the pattern of influences. The intricate network of influences stands in stark contrast to the insulated cognitivism that has dominated the field of cognitive development.
Family socioeconomic status affects children's academic achievement only indirectly by promoting parental aspirations and children's prosocialness. Parents with a high sense of efficacy that they can influence their children's intellectual development hold high aspirations for their children and raise their children's beliefs in their capabilities to regulate their own learning and academic attainments. Different aspects of children's efficacy beliefs contribute to their academic attainments but, interestingly, through partially different paths of influence. Perceived academic efficacy raises academic attainments both directly and by fostering academic aspirations and prosocial relationships and counteracting despondency. Children's beliefs in their efficacy to resist peer pressures for risky activities contribute to academic attainment directly and by supporting adherence to self-sanctions against detrimental conduct that can subvert academic pursuits. Perceived social efficacy contributes to academic attainments principally by promoting academic aspirations and reducing vulnerability to feelings of futility and depression. The other paths of influence reveal the ways in which emotional well-being and interpersonal relationships affect the course of cognitive development. Strong prosocial connectedness and peer popularity promote academic achievement directly and by curbing socially alienating conduct. Evidence that different facets of perceived self-efficacy contribute to academic achievement through different mediational paths which global measure cannot reveal attests to the explanatory value of microanalytic measures.
FIGURE 6.5 Path analysis of the pattern of influence through which parents and children's efficacy beliefs and academic aspirations promote children's academic development. All of the path coefficients are significant beyond the p<.05 level (Bandura et al., 1996a).
The findings of the research just discussed document the interplay of the diverse types of influences that shape developmental trajectories. Perceived inefficacies that impair cognitive functioning, sap aspirations, generate despondency, and breed socially alienating adaptations produce increasing academic deficiencies. Over time, growing doubts about intellectual capabilities and deficiencies in cognitive competencies foreclose many occupational life courses, if not prosocial life paths themselves. Indeed, among the different types of competencies, academic deficiencies are the ones most likely to foreshadow adoption of antisocial styles of behavior (Hinshaw, 1992; Rutter, 1979). In these different ways, beliefs of cognitive efficacy have reverberating effects on developmental trajectories well beyond the academic domain.
Self-Efficacy in Advanced Cognitive Functioning
The previous sections have been primarily concerned with the way in which efficacy beliefs foster development of cognitive competencies and academic achievement in formal instruction under the guidance of teachers. If anything, efficacy beliefs are even more crucial at advanced levels of cognitive functioning where pursuits are complex and demand a high level of self-directedness. Many of the problems of everyday life do not have a single fixed solution but rather permit different solutions of varying adequacy. Uncertainty about the range of possible solutions and their relative effectiveness increases the complexity of monitoring and evaluating one's understanding of problems and personal efficacy to come up with good courses of action. To complicate matters further, changing social practices and technological innovations continually demand new adaptations. Moreover, many of the pursuits call for prolonged laborious effort without the benefit of quick triumphs. Success under such conditions requires people to deploy their knowledge and cognitive skills flexibly, creatively, and persistently.
At the college level, students must choose which educational directions to pursue and assume major responsibility for their own learning. Those who have a high sense of efficacy are more successful in regulating their own learning and do better academically than those who are beset with uncertainties about their intellectual capabilities (Pintrich & Schrauben, 1992; Wood & Locke, 1987). Multon and her colleagues summarize by meta-analysis the findings of a large number of studies of academic achievement conducted with both children and adults (Multon et al, 1991). The results are consistent in showing that efficacy beliefs contribute significantly to scholastic performance. Beliefs in personal efficacy have substantially greater impact on academic performance than the personal, social, and occupational outcomes expected for proficient performance (Shell, Murphy, & Bruning, 1989).
Considerable research reveals that perceived academic efficacy plays an influential role in career choice and development. It predicts academic grades, the range of career options considered, and persistence and success in chosen fields (Betz & Hackett, 1986; Lent & Hackett, 1987). Perceived self-efficacy accounts for variations in these different intellectual aspects of occupational pursuits when past academic achievement, scholastic ability, and occupational interests are controlled (Lent et al., 1986, 1987). When differences in efficacy beliefs are controlled, however, ability no longer accounts for course planning, course selections, and academic grades, suggesting that students' beliefs in their academic efficacy mediates the relationship between ability and educational pursuits and attainments (Lent et al, 1993). By influencing preparatory development and occupational choices, efficacy beliefs partly shape the courses that lives take.
Creativity constitutes one of the highest forms of human expression. Innovativeness largely involves restructuring and synthesizing knowledge into new ways of thinking and of doing things. It requires a good deal of cognitive facility to override established ways of thinking that impede exploration of novel ideas and search for new knowledge. But above all, innovativeness requires an unshakable sense of efficacy to persist in creative endeavors when they demand prolonged investment of time and effort, progress is discouragingly slow, the outcome is highly uncertain, and creations are socially devalued when they are too incongruent with preexisting ways.
Locke, Frederick, Lee, and Bobko (1984) examined the role of perceived cognitive efficacy in creative thinking when individuals were taught cognitive strategies for thinking creatively. Both level of cognitive skills and strategy instruction raised belief in cognitive innovativeness. The increased perceived efficacy promoted creative thinking both directly and by adoption of motivating personal challenges. Creative scholarship in academic settings benefits from the exercise of some of the self-regulative influences reviewed earlier. Research projects often require a long lead time because of false starts and inevitable delays caused by difficulties in coordinating time schedules with availability of personnel, facilities, and resources. If a project does not pan out, time has been lost with nothing to show for it. Efforts are more productively deployed by working concurrently on several projects at varying stages of completion and shifting among them as circumstances dictate. It requires considerable self-regulatory efficacy to pursue multiple projects concurrently. Moreover, without personal goals to strengthen commitment to creative endeavors, people succumb to impediments and ever-present distractions. It also requires a high sense of efficacy to submit the products of one's labors to the critical scrutiny of others and to gain their acceptance. The research of Taylor and her colleagues (Taylor et al., 1984) sheds light on the impact of efficacy beliefs on these processes in scholarly productivity. The re-suits of path analysis indicate that professors' high confidence in their efficacy to produce publishable research affects their scholarly productivity both directly by fostering goal setting and indirectly by concurrent involvement in multiple projects.
Perceived self-efficacy figures prominently in scholarly productivity even during development of academic careers. Research training exerts its impact on the productivity of graduate students to the extent that it influences their efficacy beliefs (Brown, Lent, Ryan, & McPartland, 1996). The mediational role of perceived efficacy is stronger for males than for females. These findings suggest that in cultivating scholarly careers, mastery experiences, modeling of research strategies, and supportive feedback should be structured in ways that build a robust sense of efficacy as well as technical competencies. Research, by its very nature, requires resilience and a firm sense of purpose.
Human accomplishments in virtually all the domains of functioning reviewed in the various chapters of this book depend, in part, on effective use of specialized knowledge and cognitive skills. Recall the earlier causal analysis of how efficacy beliefs govern complex decision making in the social management of organizational performance (Wood & Bandura, 1989a). The contribution of efficacy beliefs to complex decision making, entrepreneurship, and receptivity to innovations are reviewed in greater detail ill a later chapter.
The task of creating learning environments conducive to development of cognitive competencies rests heavily on the talents and self-efficacy of teachers. Evidence indicates that teachers' beliefs in their instructional efficacy partly determine how they structure academic activities in their classrooms and shape students' evaluations of their intellectual capabilities. Gibson and Dembo (1984) measured teachers' beliefs in their efficacy to motivate and educate difficult students and to counteract adverse home and community influences on students' academic development. Teachers with a high sense of instructional efficacy operate on the belief that difficult students are teachable through extra effort and appropriate techniques and that they can enlist family supports and overcome negating community influences through effective teaching. In contrast, teachers who have a low sense of instructional efficacy believe there is little they can do if students are unmotivated and that the influence teachers can exert on students' intellectual development is severely limited by unsupportive or oppositional influences from the home and neighborhood environment.
Gibson and Dembo conducted a microanalytic observational study of how teachers of high and low perceived efficacy manage their classroom activities. Teachers who have a high sense of instructional efficacy devote more classroom time to academic activities, provide students who encounter difficulties with the guidance they need to succeed, and praise their academic accomplishments. In contrast, teachers of low perceived efficacy spend more time on nonaca-demic pastimes, readily give up on students if they do not get quick results, and criticize them for their failures. Thus, teachers who believe strongly in their ability to promote learning create mastery, experiences for their students, but those beset by self-doubts about their instructional efficacy construct classroom environments that are likely to undermine students' judgments of their abilities and their cognitive development. The less time spent on academic instruction, the lower the students' academic progress (Cohn & Rossmiller, 1987). In studies of student teachers, those with a higher sense of efficacy do a better job in presenting lesson plans, drawing students out in discussions, and managing their classrooms during the subsequent course of their training (Saklofske, Michayluk, & Randhawa, 1988).
Educational systems will be relying increasingly on electronically mediated instruction. These new realities call for special types of teacher efficacy. Technologies change rapidly, requiring continual upgrading of knowledge and skills. Teachers' beliefs in their efficacy affect their receptivity to, and adoption of, educational technologies. Teachers of low perceived mathematical efficacy distrust their capacity to make good instructional use of computers (Olivier, 1985). Similarly, school administrators who have a low sense of computer efficacy resist adopting computers for instructional purposes (Jorde-Bloom & Ford, 1988). The availability of electronic media to deliver the more traditional instruction shifts the emphasis in teachers' pedagogical efficacy from rote instruction to training in how to think creatively, evaluate the deluge of information with which people are being overdosed, and use available knowledge productively. The efficacy issue of interest concerns teachers' beliefs in their abilities to integrate these pedagogical practices successfully within a broad perspective of education.
Teachers' beliefs in their efficacy affect their general orientation toward the educational process as well as their specific instructional activities. Those who have a low sense of instructional efficacy favor a custodial orientation that takes a pessimistic view of students' motivation, emphasizes control of classroom behavior through strict regulations, and relies on extrinsic inducements and negative sanctions to get students to study (Woolfolk & Hoy, 1990; Woolfolk, Rosoff, & Hoy, 1990). Melby (1995) finds that teachers with a low sense of efficacy are mired in classroom problems. They distrust their ability to manage their classrooms; are stressed and angered by students' misbehavior; are pessimistic about students' improvability; take a custodial view of their iob; resort to restrictive and punitive modes of discipline; focus more on the subject matter than on students' development; and, if they had to do it all over again, would not choose the teaching profession. In path analyses, the influence of perceived inefficacy on punitive classroom management is mediated through stress and anger. Heavy reliance on coercive practices to get things done fosters devaluation of others and their level of ability (Kiphis, 1974), which can further undermine students' academic interest and motivation. Teachers who believe strongly in their instructional efficacy tend to rely on persuasory means rather than authoritarian control and to support development of their students' intrinsic interest and academic self-directedness.
The preceding research delineates some of the classroom social processes through which teachers' efficacy beliefs can affect students' self-conceptions, aspirations, and academic learning. Ashton and Webb (1986) document the cumulative impact of divergent levels of teachers' perceived efficacy. They studied seasoned teachers who taught students placed in classes for basic skills because of severe academic deficiencies. Teachers' beliefs about their instructional efficacy predicted their students' levels of mathematical and language achievement over the course of the academic year with variations in the students' entering ability controlled. Students learned much more from teachers imbued with a sense of efficacy than from those beset with self-doubts. Teachers with a high sense of efficacy tend to view difficult students as reachable and teachable and regard their learning problems as surmountable by ingenuity and extra effort. Teachers of low perceived efficacy are inclined to invoke low student ability as an explanation for why their students cannot be taught.
The early school years are an important formative period in children's development of conceptions of their intellectual capabilities. Their beliefs about their intellectual efficacy are, in large part, a social construction based on appraisals of their performances in different academic subjects, repeated social comparisons with the attainments of their peers, and construals of the academic expectations and ability evaluations conveyed by their teachers either directly or in subtle indirect ways. A teacher's sense of efficacy is likely to be especially influential on young children because their beliefs about their capabilities are still relatively unstable, peer structures are relatively informal, and young children make little use of social comparison information in evaluating their capabilities. In accord with this expectation, Anderson, Greene, and Loewen (1988) report that teachers' beliefs in their instructional efficacy is a much stronger predictor of the academic attainments of younger students than of older students.
Socioeducational transitions involving new teachers, regroupings of classmates, and different school structures confront students with adaptational pressures that inevitably shake their sense of efficacy. These adaptational problems are likely to be exacerbated if the teachers to whom the students are entrusted doubt they can achieve much success with them. Students whose sense of efficacy is well-grounded in academic self-regulatory capabilities are less vulnerable to the possible adverse effects of teachers with a low sense of efficacy than are students who are struggling with self-doubts about their academic abilities. This differential effect is corroborated by Midgley, Feldlaufer, and Eccles (1989) in a longitudinal study of the transition from elementary to junior high school. High-achieving students were not much affected by their teachers' sense of instructional efficacy during transition periods. In contrast, low-achieving students who had teachers low in perceived efficacy in both school environments or who moved from teachers' of high perceived efficacy to ones of low perceived efficacy suffered declines in academic expectations and evaluations of their academic performances. Transitions from teachers of low to high perceived efficacy led low-achieving students to expect more of themselves academically.
Some teachers find themselves beleaguered day in and day out by disruptive and nonachieving students. Eventually, their sense of inefficacy to fulfill academic demands takes a stressful toll. Burnout in academia is not all that uncommon. It encompasses a syndrome of reactions to prolonged occupational stressors that includes physical and emotional exhaustion, depersonalization of the people one is serving, and lack of any sense of personal accomplishment (Jackson, Schwab, & Shuler, 1986; Kyriacou, 1987; Maslach, 1982). Chwalisz, Altmaier, and Russell (1992) clarify the causal path through which a sense of coping inefficacy is linked to burnout in teachers. When faced with academic stressors, teachers of high perceived efficacy direct their efforts at resolving problems. In contrast, teachers who distrust their efficacy try to avoid dealing with academic problems and, instead, turn their efforts inward to relieve their emotional distress. The pattern of coping by withdrawal heightens emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a growing sense of futility.
Some of the avoidant means of coping involve disengagement from the instructional activities themselves. Thus, teachers who lack a secure sense of instructional efficacy show weak commitment to teaching (Evans & Tribble, 1986), spend less time on subject matter in their areas of perceived inefficacy (Enochs & Riggs, 1990), and devote less total time to academic matters (Gibson & Dembo, 1984). Teacher efficacy in science education is of particular concern, given the increasing importance of scientific literacy and competency in the technological transformations occurring in society. In a study including a variety of factors, Coladarci (1992) found that teachers' sense of instructional efficacy was the best predictor of commitment to the teaching profession. Strong educational leadership by the principal also contributed to teachers' commitment, but a school climate of collegiality and support, salary, and teaching experience did not. Attrition rates are high for teachers. Those of low perceived efficacy are the ones most likely to drop out of the teaching profession (Glickman & Tamashiro, 1982). Strategies for preventing and alleviating occupational burnout, which require both personal and organizational changes, are reviewed in Chapter 10.
As in other areas of research on the regulative function of efficacy beliefs, the assessment of teachers' perceived self-efficacy should be broadened to gauge its multifaceted nature. Teachers' sense of efficacy was initially conceptualized as a global construct measured by one item involving teachers' efficacy to educate difficult and unmotivated students and by a second item involving the efficacy of teachers in general to overcome the negative impact of adverse home environments on students' academic motivation (Betman, McLaughlin, Bass, Pauly, & Zellman, 1977). Gibson and Dembo (198'#) improved the assessment procedure by measuring these two facets of teachers' perceived efficacy with multiple items. Multiform measures reduce the problems of low reliability, deficient sampling of variant manifestations of a particular facet, and restricted variability of scores that plague single-item measures and diminish relationships between variables. Efficacy to surmount taxing conditions, however, should be measured in terms of teachers' beliefs about their own efficacy to do so rather than about the efficacy of teachers in general. Teachers' instructional efforts are governed more by what they believe they can accomplish than by their view of other teachers' abilities to prevail over environmental obstacles by effective teaching.
Multi-item measures are an improvement over single-item ones, but teacher efficacy scales are, for the most part, still cast in a general form rather than being tailored to domains of instructional functioning. Teachers' sense of instructional efficacy is not necessarily uniform across different subjects. Thus, teachers who judge themselves highly efficacious in mathematical or science instruction may be much less assured of their efficacy in language instruction and vice versa. Therefore, teacher efficacy scales should be linked to the various knowledge domains. Because omnibus measures sacrifice predictive power, they probably underestimate the degree to which teachers' sense of efficacy contributes to students' academic attainments.
Teachers' perceived efficacy rests on much more than the ability to transmit subject matter. Their effectiveness is also partly determined by their efficacy in maintaining an orderly classroom conducive to learning, enlisting resources and parental involvement in children's academic activities, and counteracting social influences that subvert students' commitments to academic pursuits. Multifaceted teacher efficacy scales (Bandura, 1990b) enable researchers to select those that are most germane to the domain of functioning the research is designed to elucidate.
COLLECTIVE SCHOOL EFFICACY
Teachers operate collectively within an interactive social system rather than as isolates. Therefore, educational development through efficacy enhancement must address the social and organizational structure of educational systems. Educational organizations present a number of distinct challenges and stressors. Many of the adverse conditions with which schools have to cope reflect the broader social and economic ills of the society. These adverse realities affect student educability and impair the school environment. In the 1990s teachers identified as the top disciplinary problems: students making noise, talking, running in the halls, and chewing gum. In the 1980s, the leading problems included drug and alcohol abuse, assault and vandalism, extortion, pregnancy, gang warfare, and rape. To make matters worse, there are a host of problems endemic to the teaching profession, some of which are not easily amenable to personal control. These are well documented by Ashton and Webb (1986). They include heavy workloads requiring constant intensive interactions, little say in how the educational enterprise is run but responsibility to meet high public demands, disconcerting bureaucratic practices, variable quality of administrative leadership, insufficient resources, lack of advancement opportunities, a sizable share of problematic students, insufficient pay, low occupational status, and inadequate public recognition of accomplishments. There are even contentious battles over what should be taught in schools, what subjects should be forbidden, and what criteria should be used to evaluate the effectiveness of educational systems. The public demands objective measures of academic achievement, whereas teachers generally prefer more subjective indicants of educational development. In short, educational systems are strewn with conditions that can easily erode teachers' sense of efficacy and occupational satisfaction. Given these numerous impediments, it is remarkable that so mauy schools attain the academic successes that they do.
Much has been written about the attributes of efficacious schools. Given some variability in achievement across grades and subjects within schools and fluctuations over time, identifying effective schools is not as easy as it might appear at first sight. The analyses that are most informative control for background factors associated with level of academic achievement, such as the ethnic and socioeconomic composition of the schools' student bodies. Without such controls, school differences may simply reflect what students bring to those schools. The characteristics of high-achieving schools that enroll a high proportion of economically disadvantaged students are of special interest. Effectiveness is generally measured in terms of rate of absenteeism, behavior problems, and academic achievement on standardized tests. There is much commonality in educational practices among high-achieving schools (Edmonds, 1979; Good & Bro-phy, 1986; Levin & Lockheed, 1993; Mortimore, 1995). Rather than simply provide a bare catalogue of correlates of efficacious schools, the present review will focus on how the identified features operate psychosocially to produce their effects and on how they can be instituted. The things that make schools effective typically include strong academic Leadership by the principal, high academic standards with firm belief in student's capabilities to fulfill them, mastery-oriented instruction that enables students to exercise control over their academic performances, good management of classroom behavior conducive to learning, and parental support and involvement in their children's schooling.
Attributes of Efficacious Schools
In highly efficacious schools, in addition to serving as administrators, principals are educational leaders who seek ways to improve instruction. They figure out ways to work around stifling policies and regulations that impede academic innovativeness. In low-achieving schools, principals function more as administrators and disciplinarians. Masterful academic leadership by the principal builds teachers' sense of instructional efficacy (Coladarci, 1992).
High expectations and standards for achievement pervade the environment of efficacious schools. Teachers regard their students as capable of high scholastic attainments, set challenging academic standards for them, and reward behaviors conducive to intellectual development. High standards will not accomplish much, and can actually be demoralizing, unless learning activities are structured and conducted in ways that ensure they will be mastered. Deeper analysis would probably reveal that efficacious schools not only endorse high standards but back them up with mastery aids for success. In such schools, teachers maintain a resilient sense of instructional efficacy and accept a fair share of responsibility for their students' academic progress. Poor academic performances are not excused on the grounds of low inherent ability or adverse family backgrounds that supposedly render students uneducable. By contrast, in low-achieving schools, teachers do not expect much academically of their students, spend less time actively teaching and monitoring their academic progress, and essentially write off a large part of the student body as tin-educable Brookover, Bead),, Flood, Schweitzer, & Wisenbaker, 1979). Not surprisingly, students in such schools have a high sense of academic futility.
Students are often stratified into academic tracks oriented toward vocational, general, academic, or honors instruction. Tracking practices determine the level of intellectual challenge and career guidance students receive. In efficacious schools, when subgroup instruction is used for students who fall behind in a given academic skill, it is designed to accelerate learning so that they can make up their deficits and become part of the regular instructional life of the school. In low-achieving schools, teachers spend less time on academic instruction and more time as disciplinarians trying to maintain order in the classroom. Students who have difficulty with their schoolwork, as many from disadvantaged backgrounds do, are set apart by placement in slow-learner tracks where little is expected of them academically. They remain permanently segregated in a socially stigmatized status as they continue to fall further behind. Whatever praise they receive is unlikely to do them much good academically because they are often rewarded for sub-standard performances or merely for effort, without much reinstruction on poorly done assignments.
A disproportionately high percentage of disadvantaged minorities of high ability are also misplaced in low academic tracks with watered-down curricula that leave them ineligible for higher education (Dornbusch, 1994). Such instructional practices foreclose occupational opportunities to escape impoverished lives of socioeconomic disadvantage. Peterson (1989) documents the debilitating effects of remedial academic grouping. Low-achieving students assigned to a program for accelerated students achieved substantial academic gains, whereas those assigned to a remedial program created disciplinary problems and made little academic progress over the course of the year. Similarly, able students are academically handicapped by placement in lower educational tracks (Dombusch, 1994). Remedial tracking further undermines academic strivings by fostering affiliation with low-achieving peers who are apathetic or antipathetic toward schooling. Assignment to low academic tracks eventually takes a toll on teachers' sense of instructional efficacy as well as breeding perceived inefficacy in students (Raudenbush, Rowan, & Cheong, 1992).
The family plays a key role in children's sue-cess m school. It is often said that parents are the first teachers and the home is the first school. Parents continue to exert influence on their children's academic progress, especially in their earlier years of schooling. Hence, another distinguishing feature of efficacious schools is their heavy involvement of parents as partners in their children's education. Parents contribute to their children's intellectual growth in a variety of ways. They prepare their children for school, place a value on education, convey belief in their children's scholastic ability, set standards for them, establish regular homework habits, help them with their schoolwork at home, encourage language development and comprehension through reading, keep track of their academic progress, reward their efforts, support school-related functions, assist with school activities, and participate in school governance or community advocacy groups for school improvement (Epstein, 1990). Among students equated for ability, parental guidance and encouragement of academic activities increases the likelihood that children will be placed in high academic tracks (Dombusch, 1994).
Educationally advantaged parents often go to great lengths to prepare their children socially, cognitively and motivationally for academic learning and are not at all timid about influencing school practices to serve their children's scholastic progress. In addition to participating actively in their children's schooling, the parents supplement their children's formal educational experiences with many after-school programs. These activities not only fttrther their children's development but also create helpful social ties among parents in the school community, through which they learn about other opportunities for their children (Lareau, 1987). The informal social networks spawn a lot of learning outside the confines of the school. Disadvantaged families lack the means to provide their children with such developmentally enriching experiences unless the parents make considerable self-sacrifices by dedicating a great deal of their time, effort, and meager resources to such purposes.
It is usually disadvantaged parents who have low involvement with schools and provide little educational guidance for their children. Many do not know what to do or how to help their children at home with learning activities, and this lack of knowledge is easily misconstrued as lack of caring. They are often intimidated by schools and rarely initiate contact with them (Lareau, 1987). They have few economic resources at their disposal to enrich their children's schooling. As might be expected, they have a low sense of efficacy that they can influence their children's school learning (Hoover-Dempsey, Basslet, & Brissie, 1992).
Self-efficacious parents regard education as a shared responsibility. The higher their sense of efficacy to instruct their children, the more they guide their children's learning and participate actively in the life of the school (Hoover-Dempsey et al., 1992). In contrast, parents who doubt their efficacy to help their children learn turn over their children's education entirely to teachers. School staff have mixed feelings about parental involvement in schooling, especially when it subjects teachers to critical scrutiny and pressures to produce higher academic achievement. Parental participation can be easily dismissed on the grounds that many parents, especially the less educated ones, are not really interested in becoming involved in their children's academic activities.
Teachers' sense of efficacy partly determines the level of parental participation in children's scholastic activities. Teachers who are secure in their perceived capabilities are most likely to invite and support parents' educational efforts. Thus, the stronger the teachers' perceived instructional efficacy, the more parents seek contact with them, assist them in the classroom, provide home instruction on plans devised by the teacher, help their children with their homework, and otherwise support the teacher's efforts, as reported by the teachers (Hoover-Dempsey, Basslet, & Brissie, 1987, 1992). These findings most likely reflect a process of mutual efficacy enhancement. Self-efficacious teachers increase parents' ability to help their children learn, and the resultant scholastic progress and parental support of school activities, in turn, raise teachers' sense of instructional efficacy. Because of the centrality of family influence on children's scholastic success, the contribution of teacher efficacy to parental involvement in educational activities is of considerable import.
If family involvement is to become more inclusive, schools must instruct uninvolved parents whose children are most in need of educational guidance about how to promote their children's academic development. Building family connectedness to schools is becoming increasingly important with the decline in the traditional family structure and the increase in multicultural school populations unaccustomed to sharing responsibility for the intellectual life of schools (Epstein & Scott-Jones, 1988). An effective efficacy-building program would include videotaped modeling of family tutorial skills as well as guided practice in their use. Strategies for how to serve as an advocate for children's development would also be modeled.
Another element in a productive family program is a regular system of communication between school and home that forges a collaborative partnership (Brandt, 1989). Families that avoid contact with schools because they feel inefficacious and intimidated by the staff benefit from a home visitor program conducted by trained parents from the community (Davies, 1991). They provide information about the school, housing, health services, and extracurricular programs for children. They instruct parents about ways to help their children increase their interest and involvement in academic activities. These outreach activities help to build parents' beliefs that they can influence their children's educational development. When low-achieving schools are being restructured, initial efforts to enlist parental involvement will not evoke an outpouring of family response. Parental participation must be cultivated by forging links to parents, demonstrating their importance to the educational effort, and enlisting the aid of involved parents to broaden and strengthen connections of families to schools. As more and more families become involved in various aspects of school life, the rate of active parental participation rises rapidly (Levin, 1991). To maintain high participation, parents need to see that their involvement makes a difference in their children's education.
Another distinguishing feature of efficacious schools is the structuring of learning activities in ways that promote a sense of personal capability and scholastic accomplishment in all students. Such schools generally favor a mastery model of learning in which students' progress in various areas of instruction is closely monitored and they get quick corrective feedback and reinstruction when they encounter difficulties until they master the relevant knowledge and cognitive skills (Block, Efthim, & Burns, 1989). With supportive guidance, all students achieve a high level of mastery,, Some simply take longer and require more help than others. Extensive interactive instruction saves slower learners from falling farther and farther behind and becoming demoralized. In additiou to the usual didactic instruction, students often work together in small groups and help one another in their school work, Academic tasks are carefully structured for them, but students are encouraged to manage their own learning as much as possible to enable them to become self-directed learners. In efficacious schools, students are not sorted into homogeneous tracks of fast and slow learners.
In efficacious schools, classroom behavior is managed successfully. This is achieved more by promoting, recognizing, and praising productive activities than by punishing disruptive behavior. This approach follows the trusty dictum that adverse developmental courses are better altered by rewarding constructive patterns of behavior than by punishing detrimental ones. If troublesome behavior threatens to get out of hand, however, it is dealt with quickly and firmly. Good classroom management creates an orderly and safe learning environment. Mutual respect and safety assume special significance because young children are much more apprehensive about social maltreatment at school than about academic achievement.
Other attributes appear from time to time on listings of correlates of efficacious schools, but they are not as central or as replicable as the major ones already reviewed. Brookover and his cob leagues have shown that the quality of the school environment contributes substantially to differencesin academic achievement among schools (Brookover et al., 1979). When the influence of the attributes of the school social system are controlled, the proportion of variance uniquely attributable to socioeconomic, ethnic, and racial factors is considerably reduced. It should be noted, however, that much of the effect of schools on achievement is accounted for by students' sense of academic utility. This is both a product of social conditions and a characteristic of the school culture.
Collective Instructional Efficacy
As illustrated in the previous review, the quality of school environments is generally characterized in terms of a set of dimensions that mainly reflect teachers' attitudes and behavior conducive to academic learning. Perceived self-efficacy operates as a higher order determinant with broad impact on attitudinal, affective, motivational, and behavioral aspects of functioning. Therefore, perceived collective efficacy represents an overriding quality that affects different aspects of a social system. In the study by Gibson and Dembo (1984) cited earlier, teachers with a strong sense of instructional efficacy created a positive climate for academic learning by devoting the major share of time to academic activities, conveying positive expectations of student achievement, and instilling and rewarding academic success. These different expressions of teachers' sense of personal efficacy usually appear as separate dimensions of environmental qualities in studies of school climate.
Another benefit of characterizing the social environments of school systems in terms of perceived collective efficacy is that the construct is grounded in a theory and a body of knowledge about its psychosocial determinants and mechanisms of operation. It thus provides explicit guidelines for how to structure interventions to change social systems. In efforts to delineate the crucial functional properties of social systems, the goal should be to reduce lists of seemingly heterogeneous variables to a small set of supraordinate determinants and mediating mechanisms that can account for the major share of variance among schools in academic attainments. Schools in which the staff collectively judge themselves as relatively powerless to get their students to achieve academic success are likely to convey a group sense of academic futility that can pervade the entire life of the school. In contrast, schools in which staff members collectively judge themselves highly capable of promoting academic success are likely to imbue their schools with a positive atmosphere for sociocognitive development.
School systems rank at an intermediate level of interdependence. Schools include team planning of curricula and social functions and some team teaching. In addition, the functioning of the school system relies on joint responsibility for the academic and social norms of the system and hierarchical dependence on the adequacy of student socioeducational preparation in prior grades. Students who are inadequately prepared scholastically and motivationally in lower grade levels tax teachers' ability to promote academic accomplishments at higher levels. Quality of leadership by the principal also affects the milieu in which teachers work. Thus, although the level of academic progress achieved by a school largely reflects the summed contributions of the individual teachers, these various organizational interdependencies contribute to the teachers' instructional efficacy.
Effective schooling involves reciprocal causation. Teachers' sense of instructional efficacy partly determines how much their students learn. In turn, a number of factors in the school environment can alter teachers' beliefs in their efficacy to produce scholastic attainments. Some of these factors stem from the characteristics of students and their family backgrounds. Parental influences contribute to scholastic attainments through the resources, guidance, modeling, and incentives the home provides for academic learning. Teachers' sense of instructional efficacy can be gradually eroded by student bodies composed of many low-achieving students and those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds that leave them ill-prepared motivationally and cognitively for academic progress.
The belief systems of the staff also create an organizational culture that can have vitalizing or demoralizing effects on the perceived efficacy of its members. Teachers who view intelligence as an acquirable attribute and believe they can attain academic successes despite students' disadvantaged backgrounds promote a collective sense of efficacy, whereas teachers who believe that intelligence is an inherent aptitude and there is little they can do to overcome the negative influence of adverse social conditions are likely to undermine one another's sense of efficacy. The quality of leadership is often an important contributor to the production and maintenance of organizational climates. In the educational domain, strong principals excel in their ability to get their staff to work together with a strong sense of purpose and belief in their abilities to surmount obstacles to educational attainments. Such principals display strong commitments to scholastic attainment and seek ways to enhance the instructional function of their schools. Interpersonal supportiveness by principals may contribute to a positive climate in the school but does not, in itself, build teachers' sense of instructional efficacy. Rather, principals who create a school climate with a strong academic emphasis and serve as advocates on behalf of teachers' instructional efforts with the central administration enhance their teachers' beliefs in their instructional efficacy (Hoy & Wool-folk, 1993). The mutual modeling of beliefs and social practices of staff members are likely to have a significant impact on the sense of collective efficacy that pervades a school environment.
Some of the dynamics of collective school efficacy are revealed in a study that measured teachers' beliefs about the efficacy of their school to promote different levels of academic gains in a large school district (Bandura, 1993). Teachers' beliefs in their schools' efficacy to promote academic achievement was measured at the outset of the academic year, before the teachers could become familiar with the students in their classrooms. This provided an index of their preexisting beliefs about their school's instructional efficacy. Schools were used as the unit of analysis. Standardized tests assessed the level of school achievement in reading and mathematics before and at the end of the academic year. A number of factors concerned with socioinstructional influences and the sociocultural composition of student bodies that can enhance or undermine teachers' sense of collective efficacy were also assessed.
The issue of school effectiveness is often approached as though a school environment is a massive undifferentiated entity. In fact, some educational attainments are more difficult to produce than others, and students at different phases of their education present differential psychosocial competencies, motivational orientations, and instructional challenges. In schools using academic grouping, teachers instructing less able students experience different classroom environments than those instructing gifted students. Teachers are thus producers and products of microenvironments within a larger school milieu. Although some schools clearly do a much better job than others across a variety of educational activities, there are variations in views among teachers within schools as well as variations between teachers in different schools. This applies equally to perceived collective efficacy. The differences between schools are greater than among teachers within schools, but collective efficacy is by no means a unitary characteristic.
Teachers' sense of collective efficacy varies across grade level and subjects (Fig. 6.6). This is true for both aggregated teachers' beliefs of instructional efficacy in their own classrooms and aggregated teachers' beliefs in the instructional efficacy of their school as a whole. Teachers express a relatively low sense of efficacy to promote learning in students at the entry level. Since scholastic demands are minimal at entry, the low sense of instructional efficacy may partly reflect the perceived unpreparedness of students for classroom instruction. In the middle grades, when students are better acclimatized to school routines and academic demands are not too rigorous, teachers express a stronger belief that they can educate their students. In succeeding grades, however, when the complexities of academic demands increase and scholastic deficits become increasingly salient, teachers view their schools as declining in instructional efficacy. Teachers judge themselves more efficacious to promote language skills than mathematical skills. This rise and demoralizing decline in perceived school efficacy is thus more pronounced for teaching mathematical skills than for teaching reading skills.
FIGURE 6.6. Changes in teachers' perceived collective efficacy to promote mathematical and reading competencies across different grade levels. (Bandura, 1993).
The decline in staff's beliefs in their instructional efficacy in later grades assumes special significance from evidence that teachers' efficacy beliefs affect how well students manage school transitions (Midgley et al., 1989). Students who end up being taught by teachers with a low sense of efficacy suffer a loss in perceived academic efficacy and lowered performance expectations in the transition from elementary school to junior high school. Students' self-doubts become even more severe if they are struggling academically and if the teachers to whom they transfer harbor doubts about their own abilities to promote academic attainments.
When no special effort is made to enhance the collective efficacy of schools composed of students predominantly from disadvantaged backgrounds, socioeconomic status and racial composition of the student bodies are likely to account for much of the variance between schools in collective efficacy and achievement level. This is because there are not many schools of low socioeconomic status with lofty collective efficacy and superior achievements or of high socioeconomic status with a sense of academic futility and meager achievement. Such findings have sometimes been interpreted to mean that factors related to student background create both the school psychological environment and the difference between schools in scholastic attainments. To assume that socioeconomic disadvantage and racial status ordain low scholastic attainment implies that poor and minority students have limited learning capability and that teachers are relatively powerless to promote academic success if their students are not socioeconomically advantaged. Superior academic attainments by efficacious schools serving almost entirely disadvantaged minority students belie this view (Bandura, 1993; Brookover et al., 1979). The collective beliefs of school faculties to motivate and educate socioeconomically disadvantaged students are, of course, modifiable.
Analyses of the relative contribution of student characteristics and school environments to school level achievement often treat two-way causation as though it flowed unidirectionally. Because influences are bidirectional, statistical controls for students' entering scholastic attainments can seriously distort the contribution of school influences to the course of children's academic development. As previously noted, teachers' beliefs in their instructional efficacy affect their students' academic progress, which, in turn, affects teachers' beliefs in their efficacy to motivate and educate students who have difficulty academically. Negative reciprocal causation can create a demoralizing descent of staff efficacy and student efficacy and achievement, whereas positive bidirectional influences can produce mutual enhancement of efficacy and scholastic achievement. Students' entry-level skills thus reflect not only ability but also the prior impact of cognitive, affective, and motivational factors that are partly the products of instilled efficacy beliefs.
To evaluate the role of perceived collective efficacy in how well schools perform, the pattern of hypothesized influences among factorially verified indices of teacher and student body characteristics, collective efficacy, and prior level of school achievement were tested by path analysis (Bandura, 1993). Perceived collective efficacy was measured in terms of the summed beliefs of teachers in their school's capability to promote different levels of academic attainment. Figure 11.1 in the chapter on collective efficacy summarizes graphically the causal structure of the factors measured at the beginning of the academic year and school-level achievement in reading and mathematics at the end of the academic year. Adverse characteristics of student body populations that largely reflect socioeconomic disadvantage erode schools' sense of instructional efficacy. Thus, the higher the proportion of students from low socioeconomic levels and the higher the student turnover and absenteeism, the weaker are the faculties' beliefs in their collective efficacy to achieve academic progress and the poorer the schools fare academically. Student body characteristics reflecting low racial and ethnic diversity have no direct influence on subsequent school achievements. Rather, they operate indirectly by affecting earlier school achievement, which, in turn, shapes teachers' beliefs in their collective efficacy about the educability of their students. Thus, student body characteristics influence school attainments more by altering faculties' beliefs about their collective instructional efficacy than by direct impact on school achievement. Longevity ill teaching has a small positive effect on school achievement but also seems to create in teachers a jaundiced view of their schools' collective instructional efficacy.
Staff's collective sense of efficacy that they can promote high levels of academic progress contributes significantly to their schools' level of academic achievement. Indeed, perceived collective efficacy contributes independently to differences in school achievement levels after controlling for the effects of the characteristics of student bodies, teachers' characteristics, and prior school level achievement. With staff who firmly believe that, by their determined efforts, students are motivatable and teachable whatever their background, schools heavily populated with poor and minority students achieve at the highest percentile ranks based on national norms of language and mathematical competencies.
Models for Enhanced Education of Disadvantaged Youth
Our nation's schools are not serving disadvantaged children well. Most children in inner city schools display major deficits in their educational development. Compensatory education programs have met with limited success. Whatever gains are achieved in academic competencies are small compared to the huge and widening gaps in achievement that persist between advantaged and disadvantaged children. The educationally disadvantaged represent about a third of the nation's student population. African-American and Latino students also drop out of school at much higher rates than do white students. Increasing ethnic diversity creates further challenges in educating students differing in norms, values, and styles of behavior. These demographic changes are likely to create a growing proportion of marginalized students. The continuing failure of educational programs for disadvantaged youth underscores the need for more radical restructuring of the school environment. Educationally disadvantaged students require accelerated rather than remedial education with instructional strategies that promote success (Levin, 1987). Education is the major path out of poverty. New technologies demanding rising levels of cognitive competencies are placing an even greater premium on educational development for success.
Faced with chronic deficiencies in the educational system, many people favor a competitive market solution to the problem. They want a voucher system that enables them to purchase educational services for their children from public or private schools of their choosing. Providing options presumably creates performance accountability and incentives for schools to increase their effectiveness -- otherwise, they lose their patronage. The notion of educational choice and diversity appeals to constituencies who view it in terms of empowerment or entrepreneurial market forces. A market solution that does not provide equitable access and better education for all, however, is a socially segmenting remedy that can breed social polarization. The concern is not with competition among public schools through open enrollment, but with private schools picking off with public subsidy the more talented students from public school systems. If vouchers do not cover the full tuition costs of private schools, advantaged families can benefit from them, but most poor families may end up keeping their children in deteriorating public schools or sending them to cheaper ones with fewer educational resources. Weak schools would become worse and efficacious schools would maintain their superiority. This would create a widening educational gap between children from advantaged and disadvantaged sectors of society.
Open enrollment in the public school system does not necessarily provide much choice and competition if enrollment in quality schools is quickly closed by high demand. Mediocre schools can be put out of business faster if, in addition to open enrollment, parents can join forces with efficacious educators to create public schools that provide quality education for their children. Creating new schools and operating them successfully, however, presents formidable organizational, instructional, and financial challenges. There is no evidence as yet that charter schools run by operators under public contract are producing higher student achievement than are regular public schools. However a society chooses to educate its children, it must evaluate the results of its educational system in the aggregate. The social and economic health of a society requires effective education for all students rather than separating them into efficacious schools and mediocre schools that produce an uneducated underclass. A society that writes off its disadvantaged members pays a heavy price in social strife and the quality of its economic future. To achieve efficacious schools for all segments of society, people need to work together with a vested interest in one another's successful development and achievement. A civil society with a valued quality of life requires recognition of people's interdependence and commitment to an ethic of inclusion.
School failure reflects a broader sociocultural problem (Comer, 1988; Payne, 1991). Many children of low-income families are ill-prepared cognitively, motivationally, and socially to meet normative educational demands. They receive little help in school in developing the motivation and skills needed for academic success. Aversive experiences in school breed antagonistic reactions and behavior problems. Many teachers come to regard students who show little interest in schoolwork as unteach-able and hold low academic expectations for them. Much of the communication with parents centers on disciplinary problems and learning deficiencies. These adverse experiences foster distrust, estrangement, and conflict between home and school. In the past, schools tended to be an integral part of the neighborhood and the community in which they were located. Often, there were shared values and close links between home and school. Teachers resided in the neighborhoods they served and had frequent informal contact with the students and families in their daily life. The weakening of communal bonds and the fragmentation of family and community life, especially in socioeconomically disadvantaged urban areas, has created estrangement between parents and schools. Rebuilding connectedness among school, home, and community with a common sense of purpose and shared responsibility for the intellectual life of schools is crucial in restructuring schools for academic success.
Mass migration of people seeking a better life is altering the demographic characteristics of school populations. Migrants are uprooted from their culture and thrust into a foreign one where they have to learn new languages, social norms, values, worldviews, and unfamiliar ways of life, many of which may clash with their native culture. As countries become more ethnically diverse, educational systems face the difficult challenge of fulfilling their mission with students of diverse backgrounds and adequacy of academic preparation. To further complicate matters, cultural and racial conflicts in the larger society get played out in the educational system as well. We saw earlier that many school staff have a low sense of efficacy to educate poor and minority students and do not expect much of them academically. The more culturally diverse the composition of student bodies, the poorer is the staff's implementation of programs conducive to academic learning.
The characteristics of efficacious schools have been amply documented. But there is a vast difference between knowing what makes schools academically effective and being able to create them. Occasionally, particular schools achieve spectacular results with disadvantaged ethnic minorities through the inspired leadership of a charismatic principal and the dedicated efforts of the instructional staff. In such atypical instances, success lies in the hands of the particular educators. Accelerating the education of disadvantaged youth requires well-founded models for restructuring school systems that make atypical scholastic triumphs common ones. Several such models for school development have been devised.
Ineffective schools require major restructuring of their customary practices rather than piecemeal remedies. If the changes are to have much impact and durability, they must be accomplished largely through collective initiative of the various constituencies of each school. Comer's (1980, 1988) collaborative program for creating educational environments conducive to sociocognitive development provides one model of social enablement for educational change. This program specifies social mechanisms for enlisting the often disparate social constituencies -- teachers, administrators, parents, and the larger community--to adopt shared responsibilities and mutual assistance in the service of the socioeducational development of children.
Officials often mandate school reforms and improvement initiatives but give little attention to the skills, resources, and structural supports needed to successfully implement them. In schools serving students predominantly from educationally and economically disadvantaged backgrounds, the more instructional supports and help teachers receive in managing educational activities, the better they sustain their sense of instructional efficacy (Hannaway, 1992). Educational improvement depends on the establishment of partnerships of mutual trust; understanding; respect; and sensitivity to ethnic, racial, and gender differences. The improved relationships within the school and with the larger community enable the participants to build a collective sense of efficacy and responsibility that converts academic malaise into educational interest, challenge, and achievement. School restructuring models that produce educational benefits largely through collective effort rather than by revamping teaching methods or basic educational content or by requiring expensive new resources are more easily adoptable. In Comer's view, once a supportive community is established, it will create the intellectual and social conditions conducive to scholastic development. If schools create the motivational conditions for learning and provide educational guidance and challenging standards to which children can aspire, they will become good learners.
The Comer model includes three major structural components. The key component is a governance and management team composed of representatives of the different social constituencies -teachers, parents, guidance counselors, and the support staff- chaired by the principal. This collaborative governance team develops a comprehensive school plan covering academic and social programs, establishes priorities for the school, mobilizes needed resources, promotes staff development, sets clear academic standards, conveys expectations of achievement, and monitors the progress of the various programs. Minority students have the added burden of developing sets of competencies to negotiate the demands of both the mainstream society and their ethnic minority. Bicultural efficacy and identity are not easily achievable when the multiple demands clash in important spheres of functioning. In addition to developing academic skills, the program cultivates the many social skills needed for success in the mainstream society. Positive ethnic and racial identity are supported in ways that build a sense of personal efficacy and self-worth without fostering antieducational attitudes. Such attitudes impede the development of competencies and, in so doing, foreclose many life pursuits in the mainstream society. Students get shortchanged when ethnic identities are promoted at the expense of intellectual competencies.
The governance and management body of the school adopts a style of decision making that forces members to work in partnership to promote educational development instead of championing the self-interests of their constituencies (Anson et al., 1991). They follow a no-fault policy that focuses on constructive problem-solving rather than assigning blame to one another. Decisions are made by consensus rather than by vote. This avoids the cleavages, power maneuverings, coalition formations, and victors and disgruntled losers that breed confiicts and resentments. Consensus decision making fosters collaboration and mutual respect. To get beyond just talk that evades coming to grips with difficult problems, the team seeks closure with practical courses of action on whatever issues they discuss. And finally, the governance team shares power with the principal but does not undermine the principal's leadership.
A second component of the model is the parent-participation program that links parents to the sociocognitive development of their children and helps to improve the school climate. Parents assist at all levels of school activities as teachers' aides and as assistants in the libraries, resource centers, cafeterias, and playgrounds. They also develop a social program for the year that promotes the children's educational development and reestablishes close relations between the home and school. The parents thus gain a sense of control and responsibility for the academic and social life of their school. As parents are made to feel wanted and important, estrangement gives way to growing parental involvement in the life of the school.
The third component is the student services team, which includes school counselors, nurses, and other support staff. Their main role is to develop and implement individualized programs that reduce particular behavior problems and to devise changes in the socioeducational practices of fi#e school to prevent behavior problems from arising. The management of behavior problems is similarly achieved in partnership with parents and teachers. The help of the counseling team frees teachers to pursue academic matters rather than operate as disciplinarians. Students are likely to be most responsive if they have a vested interest in the life of their school. Therefore, as they progress iu their development, they should play an increased role in upholding the quality of their school life.
Informal assessments of this approach to the education of socioeconomically disadvantaged children indicate that it eliminates absenteeism, markedly reduces behavior problems, and raises academic achievement (Comer, 1985, 1988). Carefully controlled studies are needed, however, to determine how well this approach to restructuring deficient schools works and maintains its success over time and in new sites. The model provides explicit guidelines on how to create the structural components and get them to work in partnership. But it says little about how to overcome social obstacles to its adoption and ensure its successful implementation. Until formal tests verify the degree of success that this approach can achieve under good implementation, it, like other school restructuring models, must be accepted with reservation.
Levin (1996) has also devised a promising model, called the accelerated school, to enhance learning by disadvantaged youth who do not benefit much from conventional instruction. Enhanced learning is achieved through multifaceted restructuring of the social, motivational, and instructional practices of the school within existing resources. The accelerated school is founded on the principles of unity of purpose, collective enablement, shared responsibility, and building on strengths. Parents, teachers, and students commit themselves to working in close partnership toward a common set of goals of academic achievement. Explicit goals set academic standards for the school and guide and mobilize the effort required for their realization. Goals without ongoing feedback of progress achieve little (Bandura, 1991b; Locke & Latham, 1990). In the accelerated school, goals are combined with an assessment system using learning trajectories to monitor academic progress. Timely feedback provides the basis for corrective adjustments. A major goal is to close the achievement gap so that educationally disadvantaged children can benefit from regular instruction requiring a good deal of scholastic self-directedness.
The school operates using a collaborative decision-making system with a shift of control over, and responsibility for, academic practices from the central administration to the individual schools. Schools are accountable for results. Local governance without central oversight for accountability can create schools that do a poor job in fulfilling their mission. The central office provides support services and technical assistance rather than operating as the prescriber and regulator of academic activities. In this school-based management, the staff make the decisions about curriculum, modes of instruction, and how to allocate their resources and personnel. Allowing the faculty some control over school policies, instructional practices, the curriculum, and other aspects of their working conditions raises their sense of instructional efficacy (Hann-away, 1992; Raudenbnsh et al., 1992). Because of the primacy of language in the instruction and development of higher level competencies, heavy emphasis is placed on the mastery of communication and linguistic skills. To enhance meaningfulness, educational subjects are related to children's daily lives and experiences. The instruction underscores the usefulness of the conceptual and analytical tools being taught.
The accelerated school uses a number of instructional strategies that are effective in promoting learning and developing the capability for self-instruction. One such procedure is peer tutoring in which older students who are more knowledgeable teach younger ones. If well structured, peer tutoring includes a number of desirable features: It provides ongoing individualized instruction, social supports for learning, and the instructional advantage of close similarity to tutors who model sociocognitive skills and valuation of learning in the process of teaching the subject matter. In fulfilling the instructor role, tutors gain better mastery of academic domains, develop social and communication skills, and verify their own scholastic efficacy. Therefore, not only do tutored students improve academically, but tutors benefit as well (Cohen, 1986).
Cooperative learning strategies, in which students work together and help one another, are also used extensively in the accelerated school. Cooperative structures generally promote more positive self-evaluation and higher academic attainments than do individualistic or competitive ones (Ames, 1984; Johnson & Johnson, 1985). Cooperative learning is especially beneficial in heterogeneous classrooms with educationally disadvantaged and culturally diverse students. They differ in social status, academic skills, and access to educational resources. Group learning must be interdependently structured, however; otherwise, the preexisting status hierarchies and inequities get even more deeply entrenched. Under unstructured cooperative learning, high achievers dominate the academic activities and thrive intellectually, whereas low achievers get relegated to subordinate positions where they suffer further losses in academic interest, perceived efficacy, and achievement. These adverse effects create further barriers to participation and learning. Disadvantaged ethnic minorities are most likely to find themselves at the bottom of status hierarchies. qb rectify this problem, Cohen and her colleagues (Cohen, 1990; 1993) devised intellectually challenging curricula in which academic tasks must be solved cooperatively by drawing on many different skills and role assignments. In this way, tasks, specialized skills, and roles are linked interdependently. The interdependent curricular structure enables each student to make a significant contribution to the group's success. As a result, students gain acceptance and perceived competence by their peers and achieve substantial academic progress.
Another distinguishing feature of the accelerated school is its emphasis on building on the existing strengths of the students, staff, parents, and community. Any special abilities the children possess are used to accelerate learning. In nonaccelerated schools, the talents of staff members and parents are usually underused. Teachers are urged to generate productive ideas for promoting students' progress. In school programs, families are encouraged to exercise their inherent strengths and to share their cultural and ethnic uniqueness.
In a school climate that values diversity united by common purposes, ethnicity becomes an enriching contribution to the educational process rather than a barrier to intellectual development or to a sense of common civic responsibility.
A key element in accelerated schools is the heavy, parental involvement in the education of fl#eir children. Parents serve on the governance body and various task-oriented committees and assist with school programs. They are taught how to increase their children's involvement in school matters, set academic standards, and monitor and help them with their academic assignments. Students are given homework assignments to help them gain skill in self-directed learning. The school also draws on community resources. Retirees and personnel from local businesses are enlisted to assist teachers.
Although both the Comer and Levin models for school improvement include self-governance and extensive parental involvement as vital elements, they differ in some important respects. Comer relies heavily on a positive interpersonal eli-mate to promote educational growth, whereas Levin makes greater use of curriculum changes and a variety of proven instructional strategies to help bring this about. A positive school climate will not necessarily cultivate high-level competencies if it is lacking in educational substance and informative ongoing monitoring of children's educational progress. School restructuring can maximize intellectual benefits by combining social conditions conducive to learning with instructional practices that guide it.
Accelerated schools with prior failures can achieve impressive academic gains and declines in disciplinary problems with the same disadvantaged student populations and the same teachers and without any more resources (Levin, 1996). Achievement gains are corroborated in preliminary comparative studies with matched pairs of schools. Students show increased academic achievement in accelerated schools but declines in control schools over the same period. Such results with individual schools, while most promising, require confirmation by more extensive controlled studies that include ongoing assessment of quality of implementation. This is easy to prescribe but difficult to do. It takes time to restructure schools. Educational administrators are understandably reluctant to assign some of their schools, over a long period, to control conditions that deny them programs for self-improvement. Moreover, some schools that are randomly selected for structural change may be set against the reforms imposed upon them and thus subvert their implementation. In addition to the control group design, reformative school practices can be evaluated by implementing them in different schools at staggered points in time. If the reforms are effective, schools that receive them should show greater academic gains than those still in the baseline condition. The staggered baseline design, however, requires that schools be adequately matched on relevant characteristics and that other educational changes not be introduced during the comparative period. Educational innovations have been hailed enthusiastically in the past only to be later retired by close empirical scrutiny. All too often, premature widespread diffusion, driven by the urgency of educational problems, precedes empirical verification of the model being diffused.
If self-empowering schools can transform failing systems into academically distinguished ones for disadvantaged students with little or no new resources, it does not mean that society need not invest additional resources in its educational enterprises or remedy the many demoralizing conditions endemic to the teaching profession. The academic successes are achieved through heavy investment of uncompensated time and effort added to already overloaded work schedules of teachers. School staff must be provided with the time required to gain understanding of and skill in the new practices. This can be achieved by restructuring teaching schedules and using an experienced cadre of substitute teachers to release the participating faculty for training during the workday and provide them with intensive in-service training outside the school sessions (Levine, 1991). Provision of helpful resources tied to a system of accountability rooted in performance evaluation can make school successes more prevalent and easier to achieve.
Implementation Models for School Enhancement
There are no quick fixes to educational maladies. The impediments to educational innovation have many sources and take many forms. Instituting innovations adds to teachers' already heavy work-loads. Having previously seen touted educational reforms fall victim to their own inflated claims, many teachers meet proffered remedies with indifference or masked resistance. Teachers' sense of efficacy is one of the best predictors of their willingness to adopt new educational practices and to stick with them (Berman & McLaughlin, 1977). Educational staff whose sense of instructional efficacy has been eroded in schools populated with failing students tend to view new efforts to raise their schools' attainments as another exercise in futility. If the innovations lack programmatic specificity, even more receptive members do not change their practices because they do not know what to do or they misapply what was intended, with negative results. The leadership of the principal plays a vital role in adoption and continuance of new educational practices. Getting principals to share authority is no easy task. Some are reluctant to share power for fear that it will only create a gridlock of rivalries over which they will have to preside. Successful trial provides the best reassurance, but skepticism undermines serious trial efforts. Nor will parents, who feel alienated and consider themselves illequipped to deal with school affairs, be especially eager to take on the restructuring of their school system. The various constituencies must learn to work collaboratively. They need confirming experiences that they can influence the socioeducational life of the school. In the face of many barriers to change, new modes of governance and school practices prescribed from above are likely to be resisted by school staff or implemented half-heartedly as mere add-ohs in ways that ensure their failure and quick discontinuance.
It takes time, hard work and a robust sense of efficacy to build the broad-based support needed to transform ineffectual schools into successful ones. Eventually, all constituencies benefit from school improvement. Teachers gain the advantage of a positive school climate in which the prevailing expectations and norms support educational development. Such changes enable them to devote their efforts to instruction rather than to serving as disciplinarians of students who have a high sense of futility about their academic learning. Principals find it easier and more rewarding to manage schools characterized by mutual trust, respect, and dedicated partnership. Parents gain a communal bond to their schools and the considerable satisfaction of seeing their children achieve academic success. Because it takes time and a lot of hard work by all the constituencies working in concert to turn deficient schools around, it is not uncommon for promising programs to be poorly implemented or aborted before any benefits can be realized. This is especially true when the school staff itself doubts that the required changes are achievable without heavy infusion of new resources.
The conceptual and operational models for building effective schools, just described, share many common features that characterize effective schools. Levin put it well when he noted that the field of education does not suffer from a shortage of good ideas but from a shortage of effective means of implementing them. Designing an efficacious school is one thing. Implementing it successfully is quite another. Major work remains to be done in devising and testing effective implementation models for creating a strong sense of collective school efficacy. That is the vital, but weakest, factor in the models of educational change. Implementation programs typically try to do too much with too little in too short a time. Informative evaluation research requires assessment of quality of implementation; otherwise, there is no way of knowing whether weak results reflect a deficient model or deficient application of a good one.
In the Comer model, principals; administrators; and subsets of teachers, parents, and counselors participate in an extended workshop where they receive didactic and videotaped instruction in the principles of child development, the structure of the model, and its application in multiethnic schools. Potential adopters also observe how the key components operate in a school that is applying the model successfully. A person from the school district is trained as a facilitator who conducts the staff training in the local setting and oversees the implementation of the program.
The implementation model for the Levin accelerated schools similarly relies heavily on the workshop format. School staff are instructed on how to create an accelerated school in which the principles of unity of purpose, school-based empowerment, and building on strengths govern all school activities. A receptive school within the district is first restructured to serve as a training site and to provide the power of successful example to embolden wary adopters. Regional training centers linked through an electronic network that provides ready access to new information on different aspects of accelerated schools serve to promote the dissemination of the model. Serious questions remain about whether brief didactic training can serve as an adequate vehicle of implementation, however.
Variability in quality of implementation underscores the need for more intensive training of implementers in the local sites. Educational systems operate within a sociopolitical context. It is in regard to interventions that power relations get played out in ways that all too often impede change. The various constituencies in a community have different self-interests and views on how schools should be run. Modes of implementation must go beyond didactic instruction to guidance on how to enlist the broad-based support needed to alter the governance and social practices of schools.
The development of implementational strategies must be of primary concern to any model of school development. No model, however promising, will have much social impact if its successful application is left to the vagaries of local circumstances. As previously noted, the normative reactions to innovations include a heavy blend of indifference, cynicism, and active resistance that can easily override more accepting factions. Some of the strategies needed to overcome entrenched instructional practices are discussed in the chapter on collective efficacy and will not be reviewed here. With regard to promoting adoption, a model for educational change must provide explicit guidelines for how to enlist and develop local leaders who can serve as effective emissaries for the program to the community and help to transform factional political disputes to a collective sense of responsibility for improving the schools. A system of communication must be developed to inform parents of the educational benefits achieved by other school districts that have adopted the model. Given widespread apathy, advocates must devise ways of reaching the families in the community rather than waiting for the parents to come to them. Other strategies address the issues of how to reconcile conflicting interests, develop a common sense of mission and purpose, and mobilize community support for educational improvement.
Another vital component of an effective model of implementation is staff development to ensure that the required structures and practices are implemented successfully. The creation of cooperative partnerships, new styles of school management, school climates conducive to learning, and communal bonds in fragmented communities do not come easily or without social strains. These implementational roles and skills are difficult to master. The school staff and their various constituencies need intensive on-site training during the formative period through videotaped modeling, guided practice, and corrective feedback about how to translate the conceptual model into desired school practices. With staff members who doubt that they can exercise much influence over apathetic students and who view innovations skeptically, staff training must build a sense of instructional efficacy as well as skill in new school practices. Explicit subgoals of change with feedback of progress can lessen mistrust and aid restoration of a sense of collective school efficacy. It is especially important to provide efficacy-building social supports during early phases of implementations when discouragement over inevitable problems can set in fast.
School staff members are more likely to adopt new practices and continue to use them if they have a sense of ownership of the program (Berman & McLaughlin, 1977). They work harder at implementing innovations and derive a greater sense of efficacy and satisfaction from their accomplishments. Therefore, promoters of school improvement should help school staff members to help themselves rather than imposing new practices on them. A generic model usually requires some adaptation to particular local conditions. A sense of ownership can be fostered by having school staff play an active role in devising the ways in which the general principles of a model can best be translated into effective practice in their setting. Local adaptations should be made within the guidelines of the school development model, however. Otherwise, if left to their own devices, people adopt the trappings of a model without making the fundamental changes it requires. In short, the major features of the model are prescriptive but its local adaptation is collaborative. After the elements of the program are in place, the quality of implementation must be assessed periodically to determine how well the various components are working by themselves and with one another. Such probes of how the social system is functioning identify the needed corrective adjustments to ensure that the program is being implemented productively. And finally, effective social mechanisms must be created for replacing leadership and staff members who remain recalcitrant to essential changes despite substantial offers of assistance.