Assessing agency for learning: agency for learning and measuring agency for learning: validating the agency for learning questionnaire (AFLQ) and agency as a mediator of academic achievement

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(Thesis) Ph.D.
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Agency for Learning: Agency is both an individual and a social entity. Personal and social aspects of agency in learning are integral in a student’s effectiveness to regulate, control, and monitor their own learning. This chapter introduces a theoretical model of agency for learning (AFL). AFL presents agentic processes (intentionality, forethought, self-regulation, and self-reflectiveness) as mediating factors between personal, environmental, and behavioural influences. AFL extends social cognitive theory by incorporating aspects of developmental, historical, and sociocultural theorizing that emphasize the integral nature of agency within the regulating processes necessary for learning. Further, this chapter examines how agency is currently studied in research and provides evidence from the literature that agency plays a more pivotal role in learning than previously thought. Measuring Agency for Learning: Agency is inherent in students’ ability to regulate, control, and monitor their own learning. An individual enacts their agency to regulate their cognitive, affective, and behavioural processes as they interact with environmental factors. This chapter traces the development of the Agency for Learning Questionnaire (AFLQ) and examines the internal consistency, predictive validity, and psychometric properties of this new instrument. An initial pool of 50 items covering four dimensions of agentic functioning was generated. Using two independent data samples the item pool was psychometrically analyzed, organized, and reduced using a combination of exploratory factor analysis and item response theory. Results indicate that the final scales have excellent internal consistency, significant predictive validity, and strong psychometric properties. Agency as a Mediator of Academic Achievement: Agency is an emergent capability that is manifested in individual abilities to interact with personal, behavioural, environmental, and social factors. AFL theorizes that agentic processes mediate the effects of other personal, behavioural, and environmental factors. The purpose of the present study is to examine the mediating relationship of agency and its component processes relative to goal-orientation, self-regulated study strategy use, social identification, student perceptions of the fairness of the learning environment and academic achievement. Results of this study indicate that agentic processes act as significant mediators and the role of specific agentic processes was found to vary in strength depending on the context.
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Thesis advisor: Nesbit, John C.
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