Self-efficacy and Its Relation to ESL Writing Proficiency and Academic Disciplines

Saeid Raoofi, Jalal Gharibi, Hassan Gharibi


Writing is an essential skill for academic development within any disciplinary area. Despite the rapidly growing body of research on the various aspects of second language writing, research on writing self-efficacy remains scarce. This study investigated the relationship the between writing self-efficacy and writing proficiency in English as a second language. In this cross-sectional study, 304 Malaysian undergraduate students completed a writing self-efficacy questionnaire. The participants’ writing proficiency was assessed using two different writing tasks. The results showed that there was a significant difference in writing self-efficacy among the three writing proficiency groups. It was also found that science students had significantly higher writing self-efficacy than those in social sciences. Limitations of the study and Implications for second language writing instruction are also discussed. 


Second language writing, self-efficacy, writing proficiency, English as a Second Language (ESL), undergraduate students

Full Text:



Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: Englewood Cliffs, NJ Prentice Hall.

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control: New York: Freeman.

Busse, V. (2013). An exploration of motivation and self-beliefs of first year students of German. System, 41(2), 379-398.

Cheng, Y. s. (2002). Factors associated with foreign language writing anxiety. Foreign Language Annals, 35(6), 647-656.

Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Cubukcu, F. (2008). A Study on the Correlation between Self Efficacy and Foreign Language Learning Anxiety. Online Submission, 4(1), 148-158.

Dwyer, K. K., & Fus, D. A. (2002). Perceptions Of Communication Competence, Self‐Efficacy, And Trait Communication Apprehension: Is There an Impact on Basic Course Success? Communication Research Reports, 19(1), 29-37.

Erkan, D. Y., & Saban, A. I. (2011). Writing Performance Relative to Writing Apprehension, Self-Efficacy in Writing, and Attitudes towards Writing: A Correlational Study in Turkish Tertiary-Level EFL. Asian EFL Journal, 13(1), 164-192.

Graham, S. (2006). A study of students' metacognitive beliefs about foreign language study and their impact on learning. Foreign Language Annals, 39(2), 296-309.

Hakkarainen, K., Muukonen, H., Lipponen, L., Ilomäki, L., Rahikainen, M., & Lehtinen, E. (2001). Teachers’ information and communication technology (ICT) skills and practices of using ICT. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 9(2), 181-197.

Hancock, D. R., & Flowers, C. P. (2001). Comparing social desirability responding on World Wide Web and paper-administered surveys. Educational Technology Research and Development, 49(1), 5-13.

Hsieh, P. H. (2008). Why Are College Foreign Language Students' Self-efficacy, Attitude, and Motivation so Different? International Education, 38(1), 76–94.

Hsieh, P. H., & Kang, H. S. (2010). Attribution and self-efficacy and their interrelationship in the Korean EFL context. Language Learning, 60(3), 606-627.

Hsieh, P. H., & Schallert, D. L. (2008). Implications from self-efficacy and attribution theories for an understanding of undergraduates’ motivation in a foreign language course. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 33(4), 513-532.

Kormos, J., & Kiddle, T. (2013). The role of socio-economic factors in motivation to learn English as a foreign language: The case of Chile. System, 41(2), 399-412.

Lin, Y.-C., Liang, J.-C., Yang, C.-J., & Tsai, C.-C. (2013). Exploring middle-aged and older adults’ sources of Internet self-efficacy: A case study. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(6), 2733-2743.

Magogwe, J. M., & Oliver, R. (2007). The relationship between language learning strategies, proficiency, age and self-efficacy beliefs: A study of language learners in Botswana. System, 35(3), 338-352.

Manfred, W. M. (2007). The relationships between the use of metacognitive language-learning strategies and language-learning motivation among Chinese-speaking ESL learners at a vocational education institute in Hong Kong. Asian EFL Journal, 9(3), 93-117.

Mills, N., Pajares, F., & Herron, C. (2006). A reevaluation of the role of anxiety: Self-efficacy, anxiety, and their relation to reading and listening proficiency. Foreign Language Annals, 39(2), 276-295.

Mills, N., Pajares, F., & Herron, C. (2007). Self-efficacy of college intermediate French students: Relation to achievement and motivation. Language Learning, 57(3), 417-442.

Moafian, F., & Ghanizadeh, A. (2009). The relationship between Iranian EFL teachers’ emotional intelligence and their self-efficacy in Language Institutes. System, 37(4), 708-718.

Pajares, F. (1996). Self-efficacy beliefs in academic settings. Review of educational research, 66(4), 543-578.

Pajares, F. (2003). Self-efficacy beliefs, motivation, and achievement in writing: A review of the literature. Reading &Writing Quarterly, 19(2), 139-158.

Pajares, F. (2006). Self-efficacy during childhood and adolescence: Implications for teachers and parents. In F. Pajares, & T. Urdan (Eds.), Self-efficacy beliefs of adolescents (pp. 339–367). : Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Pajares, F. (2007). Empirical Properties of a Scale to Assess Writing Self-Efficacy in School Contexts. Measurement and evaluation in Counseling and development, 39(4), 239.

Pajares, F., & Johnson, M. J. (1996). Self-efficacy beliefs and the writing performance of entering high school students. Psychology in the Schools, 33(2), 163-175.

Pajares, F., & Miller, M. D. (1994). Role of self-efficacy and self-concept beliefs in mathematical problem solving: A path analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86(2), 193-203.

Pajares, F., & Valiante, G. (1999). Grade level and gender differences in the writing self-beliefs of middle school students. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 24(4), 390-405.

Palmer, D. (2006). Sources of self-efficacy in a science methods course for primary teacher education students. Research in Science Education, 36(4), 337-353.

Pintrich, P. R., Smith, D. A., García, T., & McKeachie, W. J. (1993). Reliability and predictive validity of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). Educational and psychological measurement, 53(3), 801-813.

Rahimi, A., & Abedini, A. (2009). The Interface Between EFL Learners’ Self-efficacy Concerning Listening Comprehension and Listening Proficiency. Novitas-ROYAL, 3(1), 14-28.

Rosenfeld, P., Booth-Kewley, S., Edwards, J. E., & Thomas, M. D. (1996). Responses on computer surveys: Impression management, social desirability, and the big brother syndrome. Computers in Human Behavior, 12(2), 263-274.

Schunk, D. H. (2003). Self-efficacy for reading and writing: Influence of modeling, goal setting, and self-evaluation. Reading &Writing Quarterly, 19(2), 159-172.

Stapleton, P. (2001). Assessing Critical Thinking in the Writing of Japanese University Students Insights about Assumptions and Content Familiarity. Written Communication, 18(4), 506-548.

Tilfarlioğlu, F. T., & Cinkara, E. (2009). Self-efficacy in EFL: Differences among proficiency groups and relationship with success. Novitas-ROYAL, 3(2).

Van de Poel, K., & Gasiorek, J. (2012). Effects of an efficacy-focused approach to academic writing on students' perceptions of themselves as writers. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 11(4), 294-303.

Wong, M. S.-L. (2005). Language learning strategies and language self-efficacy investigating the relationship in Malaysia. RELC Journal, 36(3), 245-269.

Woodrow, L. (2006). A model of adaptive language learning. The Modern Language Journal, 90(3), 297-319.

Woodrow, L. (2011). College English writing affect: Self-efficacy and anxiety. System, 39(4), 510-522.

Wu, X., Lowyck, J., Sercu, L., & Elen, J. (2013). Task complexity, student perceptions of vocabulary learning in EFL, and task performance. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 83(1), 160-181.

Yılmaz, C. (2010). The relationship between language learning strategies, gender, proficiency and self-efficacy beliefs: a study of ELT learners in Turkey. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2(2), 682-687.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2021 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.