Date of Award

8-7-2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

MaryAnn Rafoth, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

William F. Barker, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Victoria B. Damiani, Ed.D.

Fourth Advisor

Brian P. Leung, Ph.D.

Abstract

The fundamental purpose of this research project was to determine the interactions among components of self-regulated learning: self-efficacy, goal orientation, learning strategies; and the predictive effect of these, and grade level and sex, on academic achievement in a sample of high school students with learning disabilities. From the perspective of social-cognitive theory, self-regulated learning was defined as an active, constructive process whereby students incorporate feelings of competence acquired from previous performance, comparison with peers, and feedback from their learning environment to set goals for their learning while they monitor, direct, and control their knowledge acquisition. The sample for the study was 135 (87 male and 48 female) high school students with learning disabilities in grades nine through twelve enrolled in two suburban high schools in southern California. The students had been previously identified as eligible for Special Education services with a primary handicapping condition of specific learning disability. Participants in the research project were obtained from a convenience sample of seven Special Education English classrooms. The students completed a 57-item questionnaire adapted from the Motivated Strategies Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) and three goal orientation scales. The results of the study indicated that components of self-regulated learning, sex, and grade level did not predict academic achievement. However, positive relationships were identified among the predictors. High school students with learning disabilities endorsed feelings of self-efficacy, use of varied and complex learning strategies, and a focus on learning for mastery, as well performance in comparison to their peers. These findings suggest that components of self-regulated learning may operate differently in high school students with learning disabilities. These students may report self-efficacy beliefs as a protective factor to mitigate years of academic failure. Deficiencies in metacognition due to learning disabilities may impair their use of learning strategies consistently and/or effectively. Finally, environmental feedback may have an effect on the learning goals these students adopt. Further research is needed to clarify how self-regulated learning constructs operate in high school students with learning disabilities.

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