Changes in Undergraduate Students’ Self-Efficacy and Outcome Expectancy in an Introductory Statistics Course

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Milushka Elbulok-Charcape
Evan Grandoit
Anjali Krishnan
Rose Bergdoll
Joshua Fogel
Laura Rabin


The exploration of psychological variables that potentially impact college student performance in challenging academic courses can be useful for understanding success in introductory statistics. Although previous research has examined specific beliefs that students hold about their abilities and future outcomes, the current study is novel in its examination of changes in both self-efficacy (SE) and outcome expectancy (OE) in relation to performance over the course of an undergraduate introductory psychology statistics course. These psychological variables—relating to one’s belief about one’s ability to accomplish a task and the anticipated outcomes—may impact student motivation and performance. Students’ SE, OE, and other variables related to statistics performance were measured through a survey administered at the beginning and end of the course. Multivariate logistic regression and McNemar tests were conducted to examine factors that affected changes in SE and OE as the semester progressed. Students with lower scores on the final exam demonstrated a decrease in both high SE and positive OE. However, higher scores on exams earlier in the course were associated with increased odds for high SE but not for positive OE, suggesting that SE is less resilient to course performance. Based on these findings, the authors recommend that statistics instructors identify students at risk for decreasing SE. Instructors can help foster high SE in students struggling academically by connecting the course content to their everyday lives and suggesting strategies to enhance their confidence in their content knowledge and increase their comfort in navigating such a challenging course.

Article Details

statistics education, research, self-efficacy, outcome expectancy, statistics
How to Cite
Elbulok-Charcape, M., Grandoit, E., Krishnan, A., Bergdoll, R., Fogel, J., & Rabin, L. (2024). Changes in Undergraduate Students’ Self-Efficacy and Outcome Expectancy in an Introductory Statistics Course. Graduate Student Journal of Psychology, 22(1).