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Developing Children's Self-Efficacy and Skills: The Roles of Social Comparative Information and Goal Setting

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  • Mathematics


How social comparative information and specific, proximal goals influence children's skillful performance and percepts of self-efficacy in the context of arithmetic competency development was explored. Low-achieving children in arithmetic received instruction in division and practice opportunities. One group was provided with social comparative information indicating the average number of problems solved by other children. A second group worked under conditions involving a goal of completing a given number of problems. A third group received both treatments, and a fourth group received neither treatment. Results yielded a significant main effect on perceived efficacy due to proximal goals. Children who received both goals and comparative information demonstrated the highest level of division skill. Results suggest exploring in greater detail how children weight and combine multiple sources of efficacy information.

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