Influences of epistemological beliefs on achievement goals, achievement emotions and self-regulated learning in Chinese undergraduates

Year: 2015

Author: Leung, Man-Tak, Lam, Ho-Win

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The main objective of the present study was to examine how epistemological beliefs (“fixed/innate ability”, “learning effort and process”, “authority knowledge”, and “certainty knowledge”) of Chinese university students affecting their achievement goals, achievement emotions and learning strategies. The proposition that epistemological beliefs of students affect their self-regulated learning via achievement goals and achievement emotions was empirically tested in the current study. A convenient sample of 231 Hong Kong undergraduates from a psychology course completed questionnaires for the various constructs. Results from path analyses and structural equation modeling revealed that epistemological beliefs affected the achievement goals and achievement emotions of students during classes, which subsequently influenced the learning strategies they adopted in the courses. “Fixed/innate ability” was related positively to performance goals (performance-approach and performance-avoidance) which influenced the use of learning strategies. Performance-approach goal predicted the use of learning strategies positively whereas performance-avoidance goal predicted learning strategies negatively. “Learning effort and process” predicted positively the adoptions of mastery goals and performance-approach goal which was subsequently related to the use of learning strategies. “Certainty knowledge” was related to mastery goals which subsequently predicted a wide range of learning strategies. On the other hand, “learning effort and process” and “certainty knowledge” predicted positive emotions positively and negative emotions negatively to different extents which, in turn, were related to the use of learning strategies. “Authority knowledge” reduced the hope and increased the anxiety and shame of students which affected the learning strategies students adopted. Students who believed in “fixed/innate ability” experienced more shame and hopelessness and might use less learning strategies. Moreover, the mediating roles of achievement goals and achievement emotions between epistemological beliefs and learning strategies were confirmed. The theoretical and practical implications of the results were discussed.

Keywords: Epistemological beliefs, achievement goals, achievement emotions, self-regulated learning, Chinese undergraduates