This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Exploring English Language Learners’ Self-Efficacy Beliefs, Language Learning Strategies and Goal Orientation




Shi, Hong

Type of Degree



Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


The purpose of this study was to examine self-efficacy beliefs, learning strategy, and goal orientation of college-level English Language Learners (ELLs) enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) program. This study was conducted to further analyze the relationships among self-efficacy beliefs, learning strategies, and goal orientations of college-level ELLs. Bandura’s social cognitive theory (1977, 1986, 1989, 1997), Oxford’s learning strategy theory (1986, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2003) and Midgley’s goal orientation theory (1996, 2000) provided the theoretical framework for this study. A quantitative research design was used to address the research questions. Students who were enrolled in the ESL program at a southeastern public university participated in this study. An English language learning survey adapted from the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) (Pintrich, Smith, Garcia, & McKeachie, 1991), version 7.0 of the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) (Oxford, 1990), and Patterns of Adaptive Learning Survey (PALS) (Midgley et al., 1996, 2000) were used in this study. Analysis of survey data was conducted with the independent sample t-test and Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients. Participants had positive self-efficacy beliefs toward their English learning and they frequently used learning strategies in their English language learning process and the most often used strategies were compensation, social and metacognitive strategies. Participants who were more than 25 years old had a higher level of self-efficacy than those who were less than 25 years old. Students who were less than 25 years old also used significantly greater overall strategies, and specifically affective, cognitive, compensation, social strategies than those who were older than 25 years of age. This study also found that female students had a greater mastery goal orientation tendency than male students. Self-efficacy was positively correlated with overall strategy use, cognitive, compensation, memory, metacognitive, social strategy, and mastery goal orientation while negatively correlated with performance-avoidance goals. Overall strategy, affective, memory and metacognitive strategies were also positively correlated with mastery, performance-approach and performance-avoidance goals. It was inferred that greater strategy use could result in higher level of self-efficacy, mastery goals, performance approach goals and performance avoidance goals. As mastery goals increase, level of overall strategy, compensation, cognitive, metacognitive strategy and social strategy use increase. This study suggested that teachers provide scaffolding for learners through strategy instruction. Teachers are encouraged to choose appropriate teaching techniques and learning strategies suitable for students and teach learners how to understand and use appropriate learning strategies, and to set assessment focus on ELLs improvement and mastery of content to enhance their levels of self-efficacy, confidence and ultimately learning autonomy in their lifelong learning.