Aim: Self-efficacy for writing is an important motivational factor and considered to predict writing performance. Self-efficacy for narrative writing has been sparsely studied, and few studies focus on the effects of writing intervention on self-efficacy. Additionally, there is a lack of validated measures of self-efficacy for elementary school students. In a previous study, we found that a trained panel rated personal narrative text quality higher for girls than for boys, which led to our aim: to investigate boys’ and girls’ self-efficacy for narrative writing before and after an intervention, and to explore associations between self-efficacy and text quality.
Method: An 18-item self-efficacy scale was developed. Fifty-five fifth-grade students (M 11:2 years, SD 3.7 months) filled out the scale before and after a five-lesson observational learning intervention. Self-efficacy was then related to writing performance as measured by holistic text quality ratings.
Results: Self-efficacy was strong and increased significantly post-intervention. There were moderate correlations between self-efficacy and writing performance pre- and post-intervention. Further, self-efficacy scores were considerably higher than text quality ratings. Girls and boys demonstrated similar self-efficacy, despite girls’ higher text quality.
Conclusion: The results support previous findings of strong self-efficacy at this age. The interaction between writing self-efficacy and performance is complex. Young students may not be able to differentiate between self-efficacy, general skills, task performance, perceived effort and self-regulation. Self-efficacy scales should thus be carefully constructed with respect to validity, genre, school grade, instruction and to students’ general educational context.
- General Language Studies and Linguistics