American Journal of Educational Research
ISSN (Print): 2327-6126 ISSN (Online): 2327-6150 Website: http://www.sciepub.com/journal/education Editor-in-chief: Ratko Pavlović
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2016, 4(9), 652-657
DOI: 10.12691/education-4-9-1
Open AccessArticle

Assessing Academic Self-Efficacy, Knowledge, and Attitudes in Undergraduate Physiology Students

Andrew D. Woolcock1, , Kate E. Creevy2, Amanda E. Coleman2, James N. Moore3 and Scott A. Brown4

1Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

2Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

3Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

4Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Pub. Date: June 12, 2016

Cite this paper:
Andrew D. Woolcock, Kate E. Creevy, Amanda E. Coleman, James N. Moore and Scott A. Brown. Assessing Academic Self-Efficacy, Knowledge, and Attitudes in Undergraduate Physiology Students. American Journal of Educational Research. 2016; 4(9):652-657. doi: 10.12691/education-4-9-1

Abstract

Academic self-efficacy affects the success of students in the sciences. Our goals were to develop an instrument to assess the self-efficacy and attitudes toward science of students in an undergraduate physiology course. We hypothesized 1) that our instrument would demonstrate that students taking this course would exhibit greater self-efficacy and more positive attitudes toward science than students in a non-science undergraduate course, and 2) that the physiology students' self-efficacy and attitudes would improve after completing the course. A 25-question survey instrument was developed with items investigating demographic information, self-efficacy, content knowledge, confidence, and attitudes regarding science. Students in either an undergraduate physiology course (Group P) or a history course (Group H) completed the survey. Forty-eight students in Group P completed both PRE- and POST-class surveys, while 50 students in Group H completed the pre-class survey. The academic self-efficacy of Group P as assessed by the PRE-survey was significantly higher than Group H (p=0.0003). Interestingly, there was no significant difference between groups in content knowledge in the PRE-survey. The self-efficacy of Group P was significantly higher as assessed by the POST-survey, when compared to the PRE-survey (p<0.0001) coincident with an improvement (p<0.001) in content knowledge for Group P in the POST-survey. This study established a survey instrument with utility in assessing self-efficacy, attitudes, and content knowledge. Our approach has applicability to studies designed to determine the impact of instructional variables on academic self-efficacy, attitudes, and confidence of students in the sciences.

Keywords:
self-efficacy physiology cardiovascular

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