The Relationship between the Dimensions of Epistemological Beliefs, Self-Efficacy and Academic Achivement in Physical Sciences among Guidance School Students



  The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the dimensions of epistemological beliefs, self-efficacy and academic achievement in physical sciences (physics, chemistry). To achieve this end, 475 students (241 females and 235 males) were selected from 10 guidance schools in Shiraz through selective sampling. Their average age was 13 with the standard deviation of 6 months. The "epistemological Beliefs assessment of physical science" (EBAPS) and "physical Science self-efficacy scales" (PSSS) were used as measurement instruments. The construct validity of both scales was investigated through factor analysis. This analysis determined four factors in EBAPS, that is complex structure of knowledge, gradual/summative learning, incremental ability and evolving knowledge. Factor analysis revealed three factors in PSSS (problem solving efficacy, course self-efficacy and application self-efficacy). Cronbach alpha coefficient for these subscales varied from 0.47 to 0.92. Multiple regression analysis of data indicated complex relationships exist between the dimensions of epistemological beliefs and self-efficacy. Moreover, strongest predictive variable of problem-solving self-efficacy was complex structure of knowledge. In addition, gradual summative learning was the strongest predictor of course self-efficacy. Application self-efficacy was also predicted by these dimensions of epistemological beliefs. The course analysis revealed that self-efficacy is the mediator variable between epistemological beliefs and academic achievement. In general, these findings suggest that students' beliefs about the nature of scientific knowledge and learning can affect their academic achievement, both directly and indirectly, through self-efficacy expectations. The observed relationships correspond closely to the hypothesized model.