Adaptability, personal best (PB) goals setting, and gains in students’ academic outcomes: a longitudinal examination from a social cognitive perspective

Emma C. Burns, Andrew J. Martin*, Rebecca J. Collie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present investigation examines how two novel constructs, adaptability (for self-regulation) and PB goal setting (for goal setting), operate alongside the more “traditional” constructs of the triadic model of social cognitive theory (SCT; Bandura, 1986) to predict students’ academic gains over time. Given that the triadic model highlights the importance of self-regulation and goal setting in human motivation, it is important to revisit classic models (such as SCT) to ascertain the role and validity of these new and relevant constructs in seminal conceptualizing. A longitudinal process model explored the extent to which: social support from parents, peers, and teachers (environmental factors) predicted gains in students’ self-efficacy, perceived control, adaptability, and PB goal setting (personal factors); self-efficacy, perceived control, and adaptability predicted growth in students’ PB goal setting; and, PB goal setting predicted academic growth in engagement and achievement (behavioral factors). Data were collected via survey one year apart across the 2014 and 2015 academic years from N = 1481 students in nine Australian high schools. Longitudinal structural equation modelling indicated that parent, peer, and teacher social support significantly predicted gains in adaptability and self-efficacy; adaptability, self-efficacy, and teacher support significantly predicted gains in PB goal setting; and PB goal setting significantly predicted gains in both academic engagement and achievement. These findings extend and augment previous work by providing support for the positive role adaptability and PB goal setting play in student academic functioning over time. Similarly, this investigation confirms the viability of including adaptability and PB goal setting within SCT's triadic model and provides evidence for their impact within the larger psycho-educational terrain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-72
Number of pages16
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Volume53
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • social cognitive theory
  • adaptability
  • goals
  • engagement
  • achievement

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