Table of Contents
ISRN Education
Volume 2013, Article ID 839657, 6 pages
Research Article

Self-Efficacy Appraisals and Test-Taking Behavior of Students from Culturally Diverse Populations

School of Education, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, 69978 Tel Aviv, Israel

Received 23 February 2013; Accepted 25 March 2013

Academic Editors: N. Dumais and B. Marlow

Copyright © 2013 Menucha Birenbaum and Fadia Nasser-Abu Alhija. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study examined the relationships between self-efficacy calibration and test-taking behavior as measured by the percentage of skipped items, unreached items, and incorrect responses on a mathematics test. Jewish and Arab 8th graders in four achievement levels, as defined by quartiles of the test score distribution, were compared with respect to their mathematics self-efficacy and their test-taking behavior. The results indicated that in every achievement level Arab students as compared to their Jewish counterparts tended to report higher levels of self-efficacy and to attempt more items on the test, which resulted in a higher rate of incorrect responses. The results support previous research findings pointing to the detrimental effect that overestimation of SE has on performance. The results were discussed with reference to the metacognitive processes involved in estimation of self-efficacy and in test performance. The identified gaps between the two ethnic groups were discussed in light of the learning culture that characterizes each of them. The contribution of the Israeli context, whereby students from two culturally diverse groups study according to the same mathematics curriculum but in separate schools, to understanding factors underlying culture-related group differences in mathematics test performance was underscored.