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The Relationship Between Motivation, Self- Efficacy and Academic Achievement

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The realm of education may be compared to that of space. We believe that we have an understanding of its fundamental properties, yet there are vast areas still to be explored. This is a qualitative study which has been designed to explore the properties that cause students to become motivated towards learning. According to Deci and Ryan (2000), motivation is greatly appreciated because of the consequences: motivation produces. With increased emphasis on educational standards and high stakes testing educators are for ways to reach every student. Therefore, motivation is preeminent concern of educators. According to Pintrich (2003) it is important that those educators involved in various types of educational reform be cognizant of the problems with students’ motivational concerns. Through research it is the intent of this study to investigate the question, “What motivates students to learn and therefore achieve?” The findings may lead to strategies which can be used to educate teachers about motivational instruction. The importance of academic achievement to adult functioning and adjustment is evident.

Children who fail to complete school work and homework are more likely to receive failing grades, be retained (Huffman, 2000), and experience difficulties in their peer relationships (Wentzel & Caldwell, 1997). This trajectory places them at greater risk for dropping out of school, later unemployment (Woodward & Fergusson, 2000), psychopathology (Velez, 1989), substance use (Kasen, 1998; Wichstrom,1998), teenage pregnancies (Feldman, 1990), and delinquent behavior (Yoshikawa, 1995). By virtue of its potential impact, academic achievement clearly warrants careful study. Numerous studies have examined factors related to children’s academic functioning. A key clinical contribution from this line of research is in the ability to identify and test the relationships of malleable environmental variables that influence academic functioning.

Once these relationships are reliably established, the ability to improve children’s academic functioning by changing an environmental variable becomes a viable goal. Variables identified as related to academic achievement include discipline methods and parenting style (Dornbusch, 1987), homework behaviors and structure for learning Toney, Kelley, & Lanclos, 2003; Miller & Kelley, 1991); parent involvement (HooverDempsey et al., 2001; Keith et al., 1998), cognitive ability, (Cool & Keith, 1991; Neisser et al., 1996; Furnham, 1995), marital discord (Demo & Acock, 1988; Unger, McLeod, Broan, & Tressell, 2000; Forehand et al., 1990), psychopathology (Marmorstein & Iacono, 2004; Karustis, Power, Rescorla, Eiraldi, & Gallagher, 2000), and socioeconomic status (SES) (Blair, Blair, & Madamba, 1999; Hill, 2001).

Although cognitive ability and SES are not amenable to treatment, their consistently reported relationship to academic achievement necessitates their inclusion in studies that measure factors related to academic achievement Most prominent health behavior theories include self-efficacy (or similar constructs). Self-efficacy is proximal and direct predictor of intention and of behavior. According to Social Cognitive Theory (SCT; Bandura, 1997), a personal sense of control facilitates a change of health behavior.

Self-efficacy pertains to a sense of control over one’s environment and behavior. Self-efficacy beliefs are cognition that determines whether health behavior change will be initiated, how much effort will be expended, and how long it will be sustained in the face of obstacles and failures. Self-efficacy influences the effort one puts forth to change risk behavior and the persistence to continue striving despite barriers and setbacks that may undermine motivation. Self-efficacy is directly related to health behavior, but it also affects health behaviors indirectly through its impact on goals. Self-efficacy influences the challenges that people take on as well as how high they set their goals. Individuals with strong self-efficacy select more challenging goals (DeVellis & DeVellis, 2000).

They focus on opportunities, not on obstacles. According to the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB; Ajzen, 1991), intention is the most proximal predictor of behavior. Cognitions that affect a specific intention are attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control) perception about being able to perform a specific behavior). A typical item to assess perceived behavioral control is seen as almost synonymous constructs. However, self-efficacy is more precisely related to one’s competence and to future behavior. According to the Trans theoretical Model (TTM; Prochaska, Norcross, Fowler, Follick, & Abrams, 1992), self-efficacy and perceived positive (“pros”) and negative (“cons”) outcomes are seen as main social-cognitive variables that change across the stages.

Self-efficacy is typically low in early stages and increases when individuals move on to the later stages. For a critical discussion of this model, see Sutton (2005) and West (2005). Nowadays, we have interesting and different issues in Educational Psychology that we can tackle to know the solution and improve this topic. Different variables are gathered in able to expand the ideas in our topic. Some of the variables are Academic self-concepts, Academic achievement, Self-efficacy, Academic Motivation and Student Characteristics. The following variables could help the researchers to define more interesting concepts and issue that could encounter during this study. This will serve as a guide in developing more issues and constructs. The following are journal articles that used by the researchers to determine and gain more information about the topic. There are many issues in Educational Psychology that we are trying to solve through the years.

One of these problems is the level of self-concept of some students and demonstrated that these students are not reaching the levels of academic achievement of their peers as evidenced by the test score gap when comparing Black and White student. Discrimination is one of the factors of having this problem. Low self-esteem affects so much of it. Another problem is after years of struggle and failure, many school-age struggling learners have weak self-efficacy for succeeding in subjects or activities they find difficult. In other words, they believe they lack the ability to succeed in specific subjects like reading, writing and mathematics or aspects of a subject (e.g. when reading, they believe they will recognize the words, but not comprehend the materials). Thus, struggling learners often avoid or resist the subjects or activities for which their self-efficacy is weak, haphazardly rush through work, or quit when they encounter slight difficulties, further impeding achievement.

There is an issue that an individual also acquires capability information from knowledge of others. Observing similar peers perform a task conveys to observers that they too are capable of accomplishing it. Information acquired vicariously typically has a weaker effect on self-efficacy than performance-based information; a vicarious increase in efficacy can be negated by subsequent failures. It is hard to get a good academic motivation if the self-efficacy is lack of variable to have. Many variables affect one’s self efficacy and it’s a big problem to accomplish good academic motivation. Also, the recent debates in rural research alternately call for greater empirical rigor (i.e., use of experimental designs) to improve generalizability as well as sensitivity to the uniqueness and individuality of rural communities.

There is a big factor between attitude, self-efficacy, effort and academic achievement towards using research methods and statistics. Having low rate or high rate in this following variables could affect research methods and statistics. Also having Multiple regression of attitude towards research methods & statistics and academic self-efficacy on effort. Attitude towards research methods and attitude towards statistics as well as academic self-efficacy can significantly predict effort. As aforementioned, in a research conducted in Washington, the researcher studied the relationship between students’ attitude towards science and the amount of effort they would expend in completing a computer science program.

Conceptual Framework

It is important to illustrate the relationship between the three variables: motivation, self-efficacy and academic achievement in order to reveal clearly how the variables related to each other. The relationship between the variables will be reflected in the conceptual framework shown below:


-High SE
-Low SE
-High SE
-Low SE

Academic Achievement
-high grades
-low grades
Academic Achievement
-high grades
-low grades


The researcher modified one theory that will help to construct the conceptual framework of the present study, which is known as the motivational theory. The theories adopted can be used for explaining the relationship between 1) motivation and academic achievement.

Motivational theory

First and foremost, the motivational theory can be used to explain the relationship between motivation and self-efficacy. Different researches were carried out and the results revealed that when students considered learning activities as meaningful and relevant, this could help increase their intrinsic motivation (Gardner 1983,). On the basis of these researches, it can be assumed that students’ attitude towards their academic grade plays a role in affecting their intrinsic motivation, like self-efficacy. Therefore, the theory can be applied in the present study: when the students possess a positive attitude towards their selves (e.g. I can do this), they are more likely to put more effort into doing well in school.

On the contrary, when students possess a negative attitude towards their selves (e.g. I cannot do this, they are less likely to exert extra effort into their studies. Motivational theory can also be used to explain the relationship between motivation and academic achievement. According to Gardner (1983) when an individual established a self-motivation, it can be assumed that he/she will exert effort. In the present research, the focus is also placed in the intrinsic motivation-effort and its role in affecting the academic achievement. It is assumed that when students put more effort into studying their subjects, they are more likely to perform better in the subject. In contrast, when students exert less effort into their subjects, they are less likely to achieve a satisfactory result.


There are three variables that need to be conceptualized concretely, which are motivation, self-efficacy and academic achievement. Motivation (Independent variable) According to Bruner (1966), motivation refers to getting someone moving. Motivation is concerned with the factors that stimulate or inhibit the desire to engage in a behavior. More so, motivation, also referred to as academic engagement, refers to “cognitive, emotional, and behavioral indicators of student investment in and attachment to education” from Tucker, Zayco, & Herman (2002) to Francis et al (2004). It is clearly seen that plenty of students who are not motivated to succeed will not work hard to attain their goals. Motivation can be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation that comes from inside an individual rather than from any external or outside rewards, such as money or grades (Bainbridge, 2013).

The motivation comes from the pleasure one gets from the task itself or from the sense of satisfaction in completing or even working on a task. For example, a student will study hard because it is enjoyable or he/she fined a satisfactory feeling on doing that thing. Extrinsic motivation refers to motivation that comes from outside an individual. The motivating factors are external, or outside, rewards such as money or grades. These rewards provide satisfaction and pleasure that the task itself may not provide. For example, a student will study hard not because he/she enjoyed it but there will be a reward after it. In the present research, motivation is specifically defined as participants’ determinants (An influencing or determining element or factor) in honing their self-efficacy.

Self-efficacy as (Mediator variable)

Albert Bandura’s (1986, 1993, 1997), he defines self-efficacy as the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations. Bandura described these beliefs as determinants of how people think, behave, and feel. In the present research, self-efficacy is further defined as respondents’ academic self-efficacy in dealing with their academic subjects that may affect their academic achievement. One’s self-efficacy is gone the academic achievement will also disappear.

Self-efficacy as (Moderator variable)

According to Albert Bandura (1993), self-efficacy has something to do with four major processes which are cognitive, motivational, and affective and selection processes. Cognitive is pertaining to mental processes of perception, reasoning, judgment and memory. Therefore, academic achievement falls under the cognitive processes and it has something to do with self-efficacy. The students’ aspiration, level of motivation and academic accomplishments are determined beliefs in their efficacy to regulate their own learning and master their academic accomplishments. Efficacy can control how people motivate themselves, feel, think, and behave.

Self-motivation can consider one of the characteristics that self-efficacy have. Self-motivation can help the students in their studies and to excel in their academics. Also, self-efficacy serves as a moderator variable in which it affects the relationship between motivation and academic achievement. For example, if an individual have a negative self-efficacy and self-motivation there will be no enhancement on its’ academic. On the other hand, if an individual have positive self-efficacy and self-motivation, academic achievement will be assured. In the present research, self-efficacy represents the respondents’ self-efficacy towards their studies. It can be a positive or negative self-efficacy.

Academic achievement (Dependent variable)

Based on past literature, there were numerous definitions of academic achievement. Generally speaking, academic achievement was defined as “a student’s academic performance in school” (Chen 2007, p. 23). In the current research, academic achievement mainly refers to the respondents’ actual grade in the academic subjects.


Different scales were borrowed from western scholars as means to measure the four main variables- motivation, self-efficacy, effort and academic achievement. With reference to the measurement of motivation towards self-efficacy, the Anderson-Butcher academic motivation scale (ABAMS) was adopted. For the measurement academic self-efficacy, the General Self-efficacy Scale was used. Last but not the least, for the measurement of academic achievement, five measures were specially designed to measure the variable.

General Self-efficacy Scale

The General Self-Efficacy Scale is a 10-item psychometric scale that is designed to assess optimistic self-beliefs to cope with a variety of difficult demands in life. The scale has been originally developed in German by Matthias Jerusalem and Ralf Schwarzer in 1981 and has been used in many studies with hundred thousands of participants. The test is answerable by putting numbers on each item

1 2 3 4

Not at all true Hardly true Moderately true Exactly true The item no. 1 is “I can always manage to solve difficult problems if I try hard enough”. The item no. 2 is “If someone opposes me, I can find the means and ways to get what I want”. The item no. 3 is “It is easy for me to stick to my aims and accomplish my goals”.The item no. 4 is “I am confident that I could deal efficiently with unexpected events”.The item no. 5 is “Thanks to my resourcefulness, I know how to handle unforeseen situations”.| AcceptThis item is grammatically correct and it is applicable to the Filipino respondent that may answer this scale in self-efficacy.

This item is good. It is grammatically and logically correct.Through the revision, the item is now verbally appropriate. | Reject | RevisedThis item is not grammatical applicable to understand by simple respondents.This item is revised to “If someone does not understand me, I find ways to express myself to them”.This item is revised to “I am confident that I am capable to handle with unexpected things could happen. This item should be change to “I know how to handle unexpected situations through my resourcefulness”.|

The item no. 6 is “I can solve most problems if I invest the necessary effort”.The item no. 7 is “I can remain calm when facing difficulties because I can rely on my coping abilities”. The item no. 8 is “When I am confronted with a problem, I can usually find several solutions”.The item no. 9 is “If I am in trouble, I can usually think of a solution”.The item no. 10 is “I can usually handle whatever comes my way”. | This item is grammatically correct and its thought is appropriate.This item is grammatically correct and it is a good item to measure self-efficacy.This item is good and correct. It is able to express its thought.This item is grammatically correct. It is also good and clear item.This item concerns with the problem that comes and how you should handle it. It is grammatically correct and this item is good.| | |

Anderson-Butcher Academic Motivation Scale
Scale for academic motivation: Academic Motivation of Middle and High School Version I- Definition of Construct
The construct academic learning is defined as student’s general interest, engagement, and enjoyment in learning in school. The test is answerable by putting numbers on each item
1 2 3 4

Not at all true Hardly true Moderately true Exactly true The Item no. 1 is “ I have a positive attitude toward school”For item no 2 is “ I feel I have made the most of my school experiences so far”For item no. 3 “I like the challenges of learning new things in school”.For item no. 4 “I am confident in my ability to manage my school work.”For item no 5 “I feel my school experiences are preparing me well for adulthood.”For item no 6 “I have enjoyed my school experiences so far”| AcceptThis item is grammatically correct and good item to measure academic motivation.This item is grammatically correct and good item to measure academic motivation.This item is logically and culturally correct.This item is good and clear.This item is clear and its thought is appropriate.This item is reliable and correct.| Reject| Revise| Results

First and foremost, the present research proves that all the four variables (attitude, self-efficacy, effort and academic achievement) are positively correlated with one other. However, even though they are related to one another, multiple regression analyses display some interesting findings. For the first set of multiple regression analysis, it is found that attitude and self-efficacy can significantly predict effort. However, in the second set of regression analysis, when all the two variables (motivation and self-efficacy) are considered as independent variables while academic achievement is considered as the dependent variable, it is discovered that effort cannot predict academic achievement. Therefore, effort can only be regarded as an indirect factor that can influence both motivation and self-efficacy, but not necessarily academic achievement.

Apart from this, the present research also further consolidates the direct relationship between motivation, self-efficacy and academic achievement as suggested in past literature. It is observed that motivation has a direct effect on academic achievement while self-efficacy also has a direct effect on academic achievement. In general, the results of the current study supported the researcher’s expectations that intrinsic motivation would be positively related to children’s academic motivation. More specifically, a positive relationship existed between classroom motivation and academic achievement among High school students. As intrinsic motivation increased, academic achievement increased. On the contrary if the intrinsic motivation decreases, academic achievement will also decrease. If an individual is not capable of establishing a self-motivation to their selves, it will be difficult for them to achieve something in life.

Like in education, once a student lack of self-motivation he/she will find difficulty in interacting with his/her studies, including their lessons. Having self-motivation will also increase one self-efficacy. This self-efficacy will serve as the stepping zone in reaching the academic achievement. Positive feedback enhances self-efficacy, but this increase will be temporary if subsequent efforts turn out poorly. Students also derived efficacy information from physiological indexes like heart rate and sweating. Bodily symptoms signaling anxiety might be interpreted to indicate a lack of skills that affect the student performance in school. In addition, more and different achievement indicators will be useful to further understand the role of achievement relative to subject area motivation (e.g., standardized tests scores, actual grade as well as self-reported grades).

These findings are promising, but continuing research on students and schools is essential, especially on their motivational characteristics that underlie achievement and future oriented educational outcomes. We hasten to add here that the continued research should not just aim for broad generalizability of findings, but also for locally sensitive design and methods. Researchers must always consider the balance between the motivation and self-efficacy. Last but not the least; the results suggest a significant relationship among variables of academic self-concept, academic achievement, and other factors influencing student outcomes. However, gender and the length of time since transition were not shown to be linked to students’ academic ability or performance in school.

This research supports enhancing the quality of interactions between students and teachers and encouraging others associated with students’ education to be involved as these factors relate to student perceptions of academic ability and actual performance on academic measures. School administrators and school counselors are vital in helping to foster a school climate that engages new students and students from diverse cultures. The results suggest the significant relationship among variables of academic self-efficacy, academic achievement, and other factors influencing student outcomes. In a short explanation, Motivation and Self-efficacy will affect the academic achievement of a student. Even though there are so many environmental factors that may affect one’s achievement, at the end of the day it is just depend on the student itself on how they can acquire motivation to increase their self-efficacy that will be useful in their studies so that they can get academic achievement.

Bandura, Albert, Perceived Self-Efficacy in Cognitive Development and Functioning-Stanford University, copy right 1993 Dullas, Angelo R. Academic Performance and Self-efficacy of Filipino High School Students on Mathematics and English subjects, Central Luzon State University (2005) Mahyuddin, Rahil, The Relationship Between Student’s Self-efficacy and Their
English Language Achievement, Faculty of Educational Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia (2006) https://ckm.osu.edu/sitetool/sites/caycipublic/documents/CAYCI-MSHS/AcademicMotivation_Middle-High_v1.pdf http://education.purduecal.edu/Vockell/EdPsyBook/Edpsy5/Edpsy5_attribution.htm http://education.purduecal.edu/Vockell/EdPsyBook/Edpsy5/Edpsy5_efficacy.htm http://education.purduecal.edu/Vockell/EdPsyBook/Edpsy5/edpsy5_intrinsic.htm http://etd.lsu.edu/docs/available/etd-1107102-185505/unrestricted/Broussard_thesis.pdf http://giftedkids.about.com/od/glossary/g/extrinsic.htm

Schunk, Dale H., Self-efficacy and Academic Motivation- School of Education University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/edu-103-1-1.pdf

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