Children’s Implicit Theories of Intelligence: Its Relationships with Self-Efficacy, Goal Orientations, and Self-Regulated Learning

By Melissa Ng Lee Yen Abdullah.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Implicit theories of intelligence are beliefs about the fundamental nature of intelligence. Literature reviews suggest that children’s implicit theory of intelligence is divided into entity and incremental beliefs. The former is the beliefs that intelligence is a fixed or innate trait. In contrast, the latter is the belief that intelligence is a malleable quality that can be enhanced with efforts. These beliefs could have significant implications on children’s motivation and learning behavior. Specifically, children with entity or effort beliefs about intelligence may have different self-efficacy, adopt different learning goals and have different pattern in self-regulated learning. Such postulation, however, is still inconclusive due to scarcity of research in this area, particularly in the Malaysian context, where learning is very examination-oriented. Hence, to fill up the literature gap, there are needs to investigate the relationships between Malaysian children’s beliefs about intelligence and their self-efficacy, goal orientations as well as their usage of self-regulated learning strategies. Correlational analyses show that effort-beliefs was positively related to self-efficacy (r = .51, p < .05) and intrinsic goal orientation (r = .37, p < .05). Entity-beliefs on the other hand, has a positive relationship with extrinsic goal orientation (r = .22, p <.05). The strength of relationships between beliefs about intelligence and goal orientation was found to be influenced by self-efficacy, as indicated by the results of partial correlation. Finally, findings from a two-step hierarchical regressions analysis shows that 29% of the variance in self-regulated learning was explained by the control variables [gender (ß = 2.26, p < .05) and age (ß = .70, p < .05)]. The total variance explained increased to 59% after self-efficacy, effort-beliefs, entity-beliefs, intrinsic goal orientation, and extrinsic goal orientation were entered into the regression model. The F-statistics was significant (p < .05), suggesting that the proposed model is adequate.

Keywords: Intelligence, Entity Theory, Incremental Theory, Self-Efficacy, Self-Regulated Learning

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp.47-56. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 639.359KB).

Dr. Melissa Ng Lee Yen Abdullah

Lecturer, School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Minden, Penang, Malaysia

Dr. Melissa Ng Lee Yen Abdullah is a lecturer at the School of Educational Studies, University of Science Malaysia. Her field of expertise is Educational Psychology, particularly children’s theories of intelligence, motivational beliefs and self-regulated learning. She is actively involved in numerous research projects and findings from her research have been presented in conferences and published in local as well as international journals.


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