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Generalized perceived self-efficacy as a predictor of student success in a for -profit career college

Stephen P Becker, Johnson & Wales University


For-profit career education serves low-income, high school graduates or GED holders seeking employment qualifications. Research has demonstrated that self-efficacy is correlated with behavior (Bandura, 1997). Generalized self-efficacy is the optimistic self-belief in one's ability to successfully resolve a variety of challenges. Specific self-efficacy refers to a specific domain or task. This study seeks to determine the extent, and in what manner, self-efficacy explains variation in first-term GPA, attendance, and retention after controlling for age and gender.^ The General Self-Efficacy Scale (Schwarzer, 1992), a 10-item inventory, was adapted by adding 10 items specific to a career college context. A factor analysis of the data obtained from a sample of N = 194, 34% male and 66% female respondents derived two meaningful factors: General and Specific, with alphas of .73 and .75, respectively.^ General self-efficacy was correlated r= .18 with GPA (p < .05) and multiple regression analysis demonstrated that General self-efficacy incremented the explanation of variance 5% in GPA at the p < .01 level after controlling for age and gender (R2 = .01). Specific self-efficacy was almost equally related to GPA with a correlation of r= .17 ( p < .05), but did not enter the regression equation. ^ Multiple regression did not demonstrate that General self-efficacy explained variation in attendance or retention after controlling for age and gender. However, Specific self-efficacy was significantly correlated with attendance (r = -.16, p < .05). ^ The dependant variables of attendance, retention, and GPA were related. Attendance had a correlation of r = -.39 with retention, and r = -.72 with GPA; both at the p < .01 level. Retention was correlated r = .52 with GPA ( p < .01). The independent variables of General and Specific self-efficacy were significantly correlated (r = .42, p < .001), generating a medium effect size for the two self-efficacy dimensions. All simple correlations were evaluated using Cohen's guidelines for r2 values as follows: .01 = small, .09 = medium and .25 = large. From a practical perspective, General and Specific self-efficacy were equally good measures of academic success for this population. ^

Subject Area

Education, Community College|Education, Adult and Continuing|Education, Educational Psychology

Recommended Citation

Stephen P Becker, "Generalized perceived self-efficacy as a predictor of student success in a for -profit career college" (January 1, 2007). Dissertation & Theses Collection. Paper AAI3270292.