Investigating the relationships between approaches to learning, learner identities and academic achievement in higher education

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This paper considers relationships between approaches to learning, learner identities, self-efficacy beliefs and academic achievement in higher education. In addition to already established survey instruments, a new scale, subject area affinity, was developed. The scale explores the extent to which students identify with their area of study and imagine being part of it in future. The new scale showed strong psychometric properties when it was tested on a sample of 4377 students at a research-intensive university. The new scale correlated positively with both the deep approach and self-efficacy scales. The new scale also correlated negatively with the surface approach scale. K-means cluster analysis identified seven distinct groups of students who espoused interpretable combinations of approaches, self-efficacy and subject area affinity. Cluster membership was associated with differences in academic achievement. Implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHigher Education
Volume74
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)385-400
Number of pages16
ISSN0018-1560
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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