The reading and writing self -efficacy beliefs of students with discrepant reading and writing performance

Emily Jennifer Shaw, Fordham University


The goal of this study was to examine the role of reading and writing self-efficacy beliefs in the reading and writing performance of high school students. Of particular interest was whether self-efficacy beliefs represented greater contributions to the prediction of performance for students with discrepant reading and writing performance on the SAT. Furthermore, recognizing the conditions under which reading self-efficacy beliefs generalize to writing activities and writing self-efficacy beliefs generalize to reading activities, informs the self-efficacy literature as to the interchangeability of writing and reading self-efficacy. A practical goal of this study was to describe the differences between students identified as stronger at reading than writing, and stronger at writing than reading. Participants included 619 students identified as strong readers/strong writers, stronger readers/weaker writers, weaker readers/stronger writers, and weak readers/weak writers based on their standardized scores on the SAT Critical Reading and Writing tests. Correlation, multiple regression, path analysis, t-test and chi-square procedures were used to analyze responses to the Reading Self-Efficacy Beliefs Instrument and Writing Self-Efficacy Beliefs, PSAT/NMSQT and SAT scores, and selected items from the SAT Questionnaire. Results indicated that reading self-efficacy beliefs significantly mediated the effects of high school English GPA and parental income, but not gender, on reading performance. The same results held true for writing self-efficacy beliefs and performance. Regression analyses showed that reading and writing self-efficacy beliefs did indeed play a larger role in reading and writing performance for students with discrepant, rather than consistent, reading and writing performance. An analysis of the interchangeability of reading and writing self-efficacy measures showed that by subtracting students' Reading and Writing Self-Efficacy Beliefs—Skills scores from each other, significant mean differences in the subtracted values were found. This suggests that using the two measures together, and not interchangeably, can help educators determine whether students hold discrepant reading and writing self-efficacy beliefs. A comparison of the two discrepant groups showed that weaker readers/stronger writers had significantly more females, more ESL experience, and were more likely to desire help in both reading and writing than stronger readers/weaker writers.

Subject Area

Educational evaluation|Educational psychology|Literacy|Reading instruction|Rhetoric|Composition

Recommended Citation

Shaw, Emily Jennifer, "The reading and writing self -efficacy beliefs of students with discrepant reading and writing performance" (2008). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3302121.