Academic journal article The Western Journal of Black Studies

Self-Efficacy as a Determinant of Academic Integration: An Examination of First-Year Black Males in the Community College

Academic journal article The Western Journal of Black Studies

Self-Efficacy as a Determinant of Academic Integration: An Examination of First-Year Black Males in the Community College

Article excerpt

Extensive research has shown an integral relationship between self-efficacy and student success in college (Aguayo, Herman, Ojeda & Flores, 2011; Bong, 2001; Choi, 2005; Gore, 2006; Majer, 2009; Pajares & Schunk, 2001; Vuong, Brown-Welty, & Tracz, 2010; Zimmerman, 2000). Self-efficacy refers to one's confidence in their ability to control their emotions, behaviors, and actions in order to actualize desired objectives (Bandura, 1977, 1986). This concept is derived from Albert Bandura's social cognitive-learning theory, which focuses on the effect of an individual's cognitive processes, as influenced by social phenomena, on their actions and development (Grusec, 1992). In an academic context, self-efficacy is often used to indicate students' confidence in their academic abilities as it relates to meeting desired academic outcomes (Torres & Solberg, 2001). More specifically, this concept reflects students' belief in their competence and academic aptitude to learn and apply information on tests, papers, and during classroom discourse (Solberg, O'Brien, Villarreal, Kennel & Davis, 1993). Generally, scholars have theorized that greater levels of self-efficacy lead to enhanced academic outcomes (e.g., academic integration, achievement, engagement, and persistence) (Jerusalem & Schwarzer, 1992). Bearing this in mind, the intent of this research was to examine the effect of academic self-efficacy on academic integration in the community college among first-year Black male students.

Research has illustrated the utility of self-efficacy in predicting college student success. As such, studies have shown that self-efficacy is a positive determinant of desired academic outcomes (Aguayo et al., 2011; Bong, 2011; Gore, 2006; Majer, 2009; Vuong et al., 2010; Zimmerman, 2000). While several studies have shown that self-efficacy has a direct effect on achievement (Abd-El-Fattah, 2005; Brown, Tramayne, Hoxha, Telander, Fan & Lent, 2008), others have found that self-efficacy impacts academic outcomes through indirect measures. For example, higher levels of self-efficacy have been shown to: a) reduce students' stress and anxiety (Abd-El-Fattah, 2005; Solberg & Villarreal, 1997; Torres & Solberg, 2001; Zajocova, Lynch & Espenshade, 2005); b) enhance socio-cultural adjustment in college (Chemers, Hu, & Garcia, 2001; Ramos-Sanchez & Nichols, 2007); c) increase college satisfaction (DeWitz & Walsh, 2002); d) lead to clarity in life purpose (Dewtiz, Woolsey & Walsh, 2009); e) improve writing-grammar performance ability (Collins & Bissell, 2004); f) support the development of challenging goals (Brown et al., 2008); and g) advance individual's pursuit of personal and academic development (Hsieh, Sullivan & Guerra, 2007). Based on the aforementioned findings, the benefits of self-efficacy on the college student experience are manifold.

To date, very little research has examined the influence of self-efficacy on Black (or other minority) men in community colleges. Qualitative research conducted with Black males has shown that self-efficacy is a critical facilitator of their persistence and achievement in college (Ihekwaba, 2001; Wood, 2010). Some evidence even suggests that self-efficacy can serve as a resilience factor in the college persistence process. For example, Wilkins (2005) interviewed Black men to better understand coping mechanisms that enabled these men to overcome racially hostile college settings. Students reported that having confidence in their academic abilities (self-efficacy) aided them in achieving their goals. Specifically, Wilkins reported that "men demonstrated self-efficacy, resiliency, and self-regulation in achieving their educational goals. These attributes, unified under the rubric of agency, manifested themselves in different ways, in varying degrees, and for different reasons" (p. 207-208). In particular, participants suggested that their confidence enabled them to embrace challenges in academic contexts, where they felt it was necessary to prove those, who doubted their academic abilities, (particularly faculty) wrong. …

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