Predicting university students’ performance of a complex task: does task understanding moderate the influence of self-efficacy?




Miller, Mariel F.

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This study used a correlational design to examine the contribution of university students’ task understanding and self-efficacy to performance on a grade-bearing course assignment. Participants were 38 undergraduate students enrolled in a first-year elective course. Task understanding for explicit, implicit, and contextual task features was measured using a forced-choice task analyzer quiz and an adapted version of the Epistemological Beliefs Questionnaire (Schommer, 1990). Self-efficacy for explicit, implicit, and contextual task features was assessed on a self-efficacy for performance scale. Final grade on a major course assignment was used as a measure of task performance. Results of hierarchical regression analysis indicated that task understanding significantly predicted task performance and task understanding moderated the influence of self-efficacy on task performance. Findings may help to bridge these disparate lines of research and provide support for Winne & Hadwin’s (1998) model of self-regulated learning. Practical implications for facilitating university students’ success in their academic tasks are discussed.



task understanding, self-efficacy, self-regulated learning, performance, university