What is Self-Efficacy Theory in Psychology?

People often refer to self-efficacy as self-confidence. Those two are somehow synonymous, but they have differences. Self-confidence refers to the belief in one’s personal worth and the likelihood of succeeding. It is a combination of self-esteem and general self-efficacy. In other words, self-confidence is a combination of state of mind and a strong feeling of self- a belief that is commonly used when one needs self- assurance especially in one’s personal judgment, power, ability, etc. Self-Efficacy, on the other hand, is the belief we have in our own abilities, specifically our ability to meet the challenges ahead of us and complete a task (Akhtar, 2008).

Albert Bandura initiated the conception of perceived self-efficacy, which influences and modifies human behavior. Self-efficacy beliefs are an important aspect of a human’s motivation and behavior as well as influence the actions that can affect a person’s life. More simply, self-efficacy is what an individual believes they can accomplish using their skills under certain circumstances (Synder & Lopez, 2007).

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The basic principle behind self-efficacy theory is that individuals are more likely to engage in activities for which they have high self-efficacy and less likely to engage in those they do not (Van der Bijl & Shortridge-Bagget, 2002). According to Gecas (2004), People behave in a way that executes their initial beliefs; thus, self-efficacy functions as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Self-efficacy has to influence people’s ability to learn, their motivation, and their performance, as people will often attempt to learn and perform only those tasks for which they believe they can successfully do (Lunenburg, 2011).

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Self-efficacy can boost student achievement, foster emotional health, and well-being. This belief, specific to a task or an area of knowledge or performance, shapes the behaviors and strategies that help people pursue their goals. High self-efficacy reflects confidence in the ability to exert control over a student’s own motivation, behavior, and environment. According to some studies, a student with high levels of self-efficacy participate more in class, work harder, persist longer, and have fewer adverse emotional reactions when encountering difficulties than students with lower self-efficacy, having high self-efficacy will also give a big impact on students’ academic performance (Meral 2012).

The researchers conduct the study for they believe that self-efficacy is an important factor in academic performance and in developing skills of students, to perform a task, and to cope with changes in health and functioning. When a person develops self-efficacy it will facilitate goal-setting, effort, persistence, overcoming obstacles, and recovering from disappointments and failures.

The researchers aimed to determine the Level of Self Efficacy of Grade 11 STEM Students of Aldersgate College on their Basic Calculus and Biology Class
Specifically, the researchers sought to answer the questions below:

  1. What are the Grades of Grade 11 STEM students of Aldersgate College on their Basic Calculus and Biology Class?
  2. What are the factors that affect the Self-Efficacy of Grade 11 STEM Students of Aldersgate College?
  3. How high is the level of Self Efficacy of Grade 11 STEM students of Aldersgate College on their Basic Calculus and Biology Class?
  4. How does Self Efficacy affect the academic performance of Grade 11 STEM students of Aldersgate College on their Basic Calculus and Biology Class?

A diverse and extensive range of research over the last few decades reveals that students’ self-efficacy is a strong predictor of their academic achievement, career aspirations, development of childhood depression, and the likelihood of them dropping out of school. More specifically, the study is significant to the following:

School Administrators

The study can provide insight into students’ levels of self-efficacy. By understanding students’ level of self-efficacy, the school administrators can provide programs or activities that can help students with low self-efficacy, as well as enhancing students’ self-efficacy in general. They can also plan the design of classroom activities, and the approach that the instructors may consider in developing the self-efficacy of students.


The study will raise the awareness of teachers on students with different levels of self-efficacy and its effect on their performance in class. Teachers will understand more those students who don’t perform well and they can think of possible solutions and techniques to help and teach them effectively. Teachers can maintain the quality of education, interact with students, and maintain their classrooms far better once they understand one of the factors that affect students’ performance. They can manage students learning more skillfully that can bring positive aspects to the educational career of students.


The study is significant for students for them to better understand the impact of self-efficacy on their learning and performance. By being aware of their level of self-efficacy, students can now address their weaknesses and improve their self-efficacy more. Students may be open to opportunities and tools to learn how to handle success or failure, to imitate high-achieving role models, to various ways of overcoming obstacles.

The study can be the basis or guide of future researchers for their researches related or inclined with the study.

This research will be conducted to study the Level of Self-Efficacy of Grade 11 STEM students of Aldersgate College in their Second Semester Basic Calculus and Biology class. The research will be conducted in Room 308, EZE Building on Aldersgate College, Brgy. Quirino, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, from January to March 2019.

Definition of Terms

Academic Performance- It is the extent to which student, teacher, or institution has achieved their short or long term educational goals.
Cognitive- Of, Relating To, or involving conscious mental activities (such as thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering).

  • Confidence- The feeling of being certain that something will happen or something is true.
  • Decisional- The ability to make choices quickly and confidently after thinking about it.
  • Emotional- Likely to show or express emotion: easily upset, excited, etc.
  • Motivational- The condition of being eager to act or work, the condition of being motivated.
  • Physiology- The ways that living things or any of their parts function.
  • Self- Esteem- A feeling of having respect for yourself and your abilities.
  • Self-Efficacy- The belief people have in their own abilities, specifically the ability to surpass the challenges and complete a task.

Review of Related Literature

Self- Efficacy

Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s ability to influence events that affect one’s life and control over the way these events are experienced (Bandura, 1994, cited by Bandura, 2006). Self- Efficacy can be developed and it affects all aspects of the human experience.
According to Albert Bandura, self-efficacy is not a trait that some have and others don’t. Instead, he proposes that anyone, regardless of their past or current environment, has the ability to strengthen their self-efficacy.

Self-efficacy is a central tenet of Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory. The higher the level of self-efficacy, the more an individual believes he or she can execute the behavior necessary to obtain a particular outcome (Bandura, 1977, cited by Colak, Meral, and Zereyak, 2012).

Factors That Affect Students’ Self-Efficacy

Past Performance

Past performance is the single greatest contributor to students’ self-efficacy. Students who became successful in the past believe that they will be successful in the future.

Students bring a wide variety of past experiences with them when they enter their classroom. Some of those experiences have been positive, others have not. Students interpret their past successes and failures can have a dramatic impact on their self-efficacy.

A pattern often exists for students who do not do well. Students who explain their poor performance as a lack of effort demonstrate higher self-efficacy than those who explain it as low ability. Students who have not done well, but believe that they have to work harder to succeed may still be very confident about their skills.

Some evidence also exists that boys and girls view their success and failure experiences in school differently. Boys tend to attribute their successes to skills, whereas girls often attribute their successes to effort. The reverse is true when viewing poor performance. Girls often attribute their poor performance to low ability, while boys blame theirs on low effort. Males and females react differently to average and low grades. Females often drop a class when they are receiving a C, while males may not.

Vicarious Experiences

When a student sees fellow students accomplish a task, the vicarious experience of observing a model can also have a strong influence on self-efficacy. By observing others like themselves perform tasks, individuals make judgments about their own capabilities. If a student sees a friend publish a poem, he might believe he can also have one published. The more students relate to the model being observed, the more likely the model’s performance will have an impact on them. However, self-efficacy based on observing others succeed will diminish rapidly if observers subsequently have unsuccessful experiences of their own.

Verbal Persuasions

Telling students, “You can do this,” can also increase their self-efficacy in performing a task. Although verbal persuasion such as this can be important, it does not contribute as much as an individual’s own experiences or vicarious experiences. The short-term effects of persuasion need to be coupled with actual successes.

The teacher’s credibility is also an important factor with verbal persuasion. Students experience higher self-efficacy when they are told they are capable by someone they believe is trustworthy. Students will also tend to discredit a teacher if they believe that the teacher does not fully understand the demands of the task being faced.

Physiological Cues

The final source upon which self-efficacy beliefs are based is physiological cues. Sweaty hands or a dry mouth are often interpreted as signs of nervousness. Students may feel that such signs indicate they are not capable of succeeding at a particular task. Conversely, students may be aware of feeling relaxed before confronting a new situation and develop a higher sense of efficacy toward the task they face. Physiological cues are the weakest influence of the four.

How Self-Efficacy Can Influence People

Albert Bandura explains how the level to which someone believes in their own self-efficacy influences their functioning, which is expressed in four categories: cognitive, motivational, emotional, and decisional.


Thinking optimistically or pessimistically can greatly influence functioning. To believe that one’s actions have an impact on their experience and environment begets an optimistic view of life. Without this belief, a more pessimistic thought process often dominates where events are thought of as ‘out-of-my-hands’ and the individual is simply a passenger in the ride, that is life.


Based on how opportunities and obstacles are interpreted, it is easy to believe that effort is useless in facing obstacles, finally giving up altogether. The alternative is seeing obstacles as something to be overcome if the right skills and perseverance were developed and employed. Self-efficacy means believing in the value of motivation to influence an outcome. Feeling secure in this belief leads to self-determined motivation—therefore it is not a question of ‘can I reach my goal’ but rather ‘what is required for me to reach my goal?’


Revisiting the idea of how our moods and feelings influence self-efficacy, it works in reverse as well. A strong sense of self-efficacy means recognizing that it is normal and human to feel discouraged in the face of failure. However, believing in one’s ability to try again can influence the outcome of an experience.


Self-efficacy means that there is a choice when it comes to interpreting our experience in every situation. By employing self-efficacy one can choose which environments are best suited for their growth and development. This is essentially addressing that people choose their own destinies and create the opportunities they desire through thoughtful choices.

In brief, self-efficacy is said to have a measure of control over an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. In other words, the beliefs that individuals hold about their abilities and the outcome of their efforts influence in great ways how they will behave. Therefore, it is not surprising that much research shows that self-efficacy influences academic achievement motivation, learning, and academic achievement (Pajares, 1996; Schunk, 1995, cited by Mahyuddin, Elias, Loh, Muhamad, Noordin & Abdullah, 2006). In line with these findings, Schunk and Zimmerman (1994, cited by Mousoulides & Philippou, 2005) reported that there was a positive relationship between self-efficacy and academic achievement and that if students are trained to have higher self-efficacy beliefs their academic performance also improves. Most researchers investigating the relationship between self-efficacy and performance have reported a strong correspondence (Pajares and Miller, 1994, cited by Motlagh et. al, 2011). Students with a strong sense of self-efficacy tendency involve in challenging tasks, invest more effort and persistence, and show excellent academic performance in comparison with students who lack such confidence (Bong, 2001, cited by Nasiriyan, Azar, Noruzy, Dalvand, 2011).

The study on Effect of Self-Efficacy on Students’ Performance by Alay Ahmad Preston of University Kohat-Peshawar campuses, Triantoro Safaria of Postgraduate School of Psychology, Ahmad Dahlan University, Indonesia triantoro confirmed that student with high self-efficacy contributes to a higher goal than a student with low self-efficacy. Students with high self-efficacy believe that they can achieve higher grade on a test as compared to research

The results of this study indicate that students who believe that intelligence is changeable and may be modified by effort possess high self-efficacy and confidence in their academic performance. This enlightens students about developing their self-efficacy and also strengthening their belief that their performance can be improved by additional effort and hard work. Academic goals such as being open to new experiences, getting superior grades, surpassing other students, proving intelligence through schoolwork is embraced by students who possess self-efficacy. Against this, there are students with lower self-efficacy who assume that intelligence is an entity that offers no possibility of improvement, who feel they would not be able to succeed in university and therefore are less likely to target any kind of goal, mastery or performance. These findings emphasize the intriguing relationships between the level of self-efficacy of students, their unspoken beliefs, and their inclinations in choosing a target, mastery, or performance.

For example, upon encountering course work that may be boring or difficult, students with self-efficacy may resort to effort regulation and thrive. Such students perform well academically because they would be self-motivated and would probably manage easily without seeking help neither from peers and nor from instructors. Furthermore, as partial mediation analyses reveal, due to the fact that students with high self-efficacy are better able to control their natural impulses when studying challenging material or when they are distracted, it is likely that they would receive higher grades. When under stress, students with self-efficacy seem to maintain their self-discipline, uphold their motivation and adjust their efforts under circumstances. Thus, a high self-efficacy apparently nurtures the ability to exert self-control and perseverance, which may result in a higher GPA. Thus, self-efficacy may be”declared as a critical intrinsic resource that provides self-disciplined behavior which enables students to remain focused while fulfilling their obligations” (Köseoğlu, 2015).


Self-Efficacy plays an important role in shaping people’s minds and perceptions, especially on students’. There are factors that affect students’ level of self-efficacy. It is also important to note that the level of self- efficacy of someone on a certain field may differ on another condition, thus creating a varied level of self-efficacy in certain fields.

Studies reveal the positive effect of self-efficacy on people, especially on students. It is believed to be an important factor in students’ academic performance and success. Students who are more confident and self-assured are more likely to attain higher levels of academic performance. They are believed to withstand obstacles and face challenges in the belief that it is a task to fulfill and an opportunity to learn. That’s why self-efficacy is an important factor that we are all must be aware of.


Research Design

This study used a qualitative method of research. This method was used to understand how self- efficacy affects the academic performance of students. The researchers had the chief purpose of determining the level of Self- Efficacy of Grade 11 STEM students of Aldersgate College on their Basic Calculus and Biology Class and its effect on their academic performance.

Research Locale

The study was conducted at Aldersgate College Senior High School. Brgy. Quirino, Solano Nueva Vizcaya. The respondents composed of 42 Grade 11 STEM students from Aldersgate College Senior High School.

Research Respondents

The 42 respondents from Grade 11 STEM students of Aldersgate College were chosen.

Research Instrument

The researchers utilized two questionnaires on the subjects of Basic Calculus and Biology. It consists of two parts: personal data and questions adapted from Smist 1993 and Baanu et al. 2016. Smith 1993 and Baanu et al. 2016 measured student’s self-efficacy on a subject. The questionnaire comprised of 10 items. The responses score 5 for very confident, 4 for somewhat confidence, 3 for neither, 2 for little confidence, and 1 for not at all confident.

Data Gathering Procedure

The researchers administered the questionnaires to the selected respondents. The results of the given questionnaires are then tallied, analyzed, and interpreted.

Treatment of Data

The level of Self- Efficacy was determined by giving the necessary points to the respondent’s answers. Very Confident, Somewhat Confident, Neither, Little Confident, and Not at All Confident are scored 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 point(s) respectively. All points were added, 5 is the maximum obtainable mean score for each of the items in the questionnaire. Self-efficacy is then graded at three levels: Low: 0-2.0, Average: 2.1 – 3.9, High: 4.0-5.0

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What is Self-Efficacy Theory in Psychology?. (2020, Nov 01). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/what-is-self-efficacy-theory-in-psychology-essay

What is Self-Efficacy Theory in Psychology?

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