Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

The Role of Self-efficacy and Use of Teachers’ Feedback on Students’ Mathematics Performance in Tanzanian Secondary Schools

Florence Kyaruzi*


Self-efficacy has been found to have positive relationship with important educational variables such as choice of task, persistence, motivation, and academic performance. This study investigated the role of students’ mathematics self-efficacy and use of teachers’ feedback in improving mathematics performance among secondary schools in Tanzania. The study involved 2767 Form III students sampled from 48 secondary schools in Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro regions. A questionnaire was used to measure students’ mathematics self-efficacy and mathematics performance, while focus group discussions were used to explore students’ perceptions of the use teachers’ feedback. Data were analysed using structural equation modelling and content analyses techniques. Quantitative results showed that students reported high levels of mathematics self-efficacy and perceptions about the use of teachers’ feedback. Furthermore, students’ self-efficacy and use of teachers’ feedback jointly predicted their mathematics performance to a small extent. Focus group discussions results showed that students were both confident (59%) and unconfident (41%) about their ability to learn mathematics. Precisely, students conceived mathematics to be a simple (28%), interesting (31%), difficult (19%), and a challenging (19%) subject. Potential interventions to improve students’ self-efficacy in mathematics and the use of mathematics teachers’ feedback are recommended.


feedback use, mathematics performance, mixed methods, structural equation modelling, self-efficacy

Full Text:



Anderson, J. C. & D. W. Gerbing. 1988. Structural Equation Modeling in Practice: A Review and

Recommended 2-Step Approach. Psychological Bulletin, 103(3): 411–423. doi:10.1037/0033-


Abbas, Z. A. & J. S. North. 2018. Good-Vs. Poor-Trial Feedback in Motor Learning: The Role of SelfEfficacy and Intrinsic Motivation Across Levels of Task Difficulty. Learning and Instruction,

(55),105–112. doi:10.1016/j.learninstruc.2017.09.009Ahn, H. S., E. L. Usher, A. Butz & M. Bong. 2016. Cultural Differences in the Understanding of

Modelling and Feedback As Sources of Self‐Efficacy Information. British Journal of Educational

Psychology, 86(1): 112–136. doi:10.1111/bjep.12093.

Ajzen, I. 1991. The Theory of Planned Behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes,

(2), 179–211. doi:10.1016/0749-5978(91)90020-t.

Bandura, A. 1986. Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognition Theory. Englewood Cliffs,

NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Bandura, A. 1997. Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control. New York: W.H. Freeman.

Basic Education Statistics in Tanzania (BEST). 2014. Basic Education Statisticsin Tanzania (National Data).

Dodoma, Tanzania: Prime Minister’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government.

Beattie, S., T. Woodman, M. Fakehy & C. Dempsey. 2016. The Role of Performance Feedback on the

Self-Efficacy–Performance Relationship. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 5(1): 1–13.


Black, P. & D. Wiliam. 2009. Developing the Theory of Formative Assessment. Educational Assessment,

Evaluation and Accountability, 21(1): 5–31. doi:10.1007/s11092-008-9068-5.

Braun, V. & V. Clarke. 2006. Using Thematic Analysis in Psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology,

(2): 77–101. doi:10.1191/1478088706qp063oa.

Brown, G. L., E. R. Peterson & E. S. Yao. 2016. Student Conceptions of Feedback: Impact on Self‐

Regulation, Self‐Efficacy, and Academic Achievement. British Journal of Educational Psychology,

(4): 606–629. doi:10.1111/bjep.12126.

Byrne, B. M. 2010. Structural Equation Modeling with AMOS: Basic Concepts, Applications and

Programming. London: Routledge.

Chang, L. 1994. A Psychometric Evaluation of 4-Point and 6-Point Likert-Type Scales in Relation to

Reliability and Validity. Applied Psychological Measurement, 18(3): 205–205. doi:10.1177/

Cohen, J. 1992. A Power Primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112(1): 155–159. doi:10.1037/0033-


Creswell, J. W. 2009. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Approaches. Los Angeles: Sage.

Dingyloudi, F. & J. W. Strijbos. 2018. Mixed Methods Research as a Pragmatic Toolkit:

Understanding Versus Fixing Complexity in the Learning Sciences. In F. Fischer, C. E. HmeloSilver, S. R. Goldman & P. Reimann (eds.). The International Handbook of the Learning Sciences (pp.

-454). New York: Routledge.

Fan, X. & S. A. Sivo. 2007. Sensitivity of Fit Indices to Model Misspecification and Model Types.

Multivariate Behavioral Research, 42(3): 509–529. doi:10.1080/00273170701382864.

Fives, H. & M. M. Buehl. 2012. Spring Cleaning for the ‘Messy’ Construct of Teachers’ Beliefs: What

Are They? Which Have Been Examined? What Can They Tell Us? In K. R. Harris, S. Graham, T.

Urdan, S. Graham, J. M. Royer, M. Zeidner, ... M. Zeidner (Eds.), APA Educational Psychology

Handbook: Individual Differences and Cultural and Contextual Factors, 2: 471–499. Washington, DC:

American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/13274-019.

Frenzel, C.A, R. Pekrun, A. Dicke & T. Goetz. 2012. Beyond Quantitative Decline: Conceptual Shifts

in Adolescents’ Development of Interest in Mathematics. Developmental Psychology, 48(4): 1069–

doi.10.1037/a0026895.Gibbs, G. & C. Simpson. 2003. Measuring the Response of Students to Assessment: The Assessment

Experience Questionnaire. Paper Presented at the 11th Improving Student Learning Symposium,

Hinckley, UK.

Harris, L. R., G. T. L. Brown & J. Harnett. 2014. Understanding Classroom Feedback Practices: A

Study of New Zealand Student Experiences, Perceptions, and Emotional Responses. Educational

Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 26(2): 107–133. doi:10.1007/s11092-013-9187-5.

Hattie, J. & H. Timperley. 2007. The Power of Feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1): 81–112.


Hu, L. & P. M. Bentler. 1999. Cutoff Criteria for Fit Indexes in Covariance Structure Analysis:

Conventional Criteria Versus New Alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6(1): 1–55. doi:10.


Jonsson, A. 2013. Facilitating Productive Use of Feedback in Higher Education. Active Learning in

Higher Education, 14(1): 63–76. doi:10.1177/1469787412467125.

Kitta, S. & F. Tilya. 2010. The Status of Learner-Centred Learning and Assessment in Tanzania in the

Context of the Competence-Based Curriculum. Papers in Education and Development Journal, 29:


Kitta, S. 2015. Development of Mathematics Teachers: Experience from Tanzania. International

Journal of Educational Sciences, 8(1): 165–175.

Krippendorff, K. 2013. Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology (3rd ed.). Los Angeles: Sage.

Kulas, J. T. & A. A. Stachowski. 2009. Middle Category Endorsement in Odd-Numbered Likert

Response Scales: Associated Item Characteristics, Cognitive Demands, and Preferred Meanings.

Journal of Research in Personality, 43(3): 489–493. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2008.12.005.

Kyaruzi, F. 2012. Effectiveness of Mathematics Continuous Assessment Feedback in Secondary

Schools in Tanzania. Journal of Education, Humanities and Sciences, 1(2): 51–63.

Kyaruzi, F., J. W. Strijbos, S. Ufer & G. T. L. Brown. 2018. Teacher AFL Perceptions and Feedback

Practices in Mathematics Education Among Secondary Schools in Tanzania. Studies in Educational

Evaluation, 59; 1–9.

—. 2019. Students’ Formative Assessment Perceptions, Feedback Use and Mathematics

Performance in Secondary Schools in Tanzania. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy &

Practice, doi:10.1080/0969594x.2019.1593103.

Leech, N. L. & A. J. Onwuegbuzie. 2009. A Typology of Mixed Methods Research Designs. Quality &

Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, 43(2): 265–275. doi:10.1007/s11135-007-9105-3.

Lipnevich, A. A., D. A. G. Berg & J. K. Smith. 2016. Toward a Model of Student Response to Feedback.

In G. T. L. Brown & L. R. Harris (Eds.), the Handbook of Human and Social Conditions in Assessment

(pp. 169–185). New York: Routledge.

Lizzio, A. & K. Wilson. 2008. Feedback on Assessment: Students’ Perceptions of Quality and

Effectiveness. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33(3): 263–275. doi:10.1080/

Malmivuori, M. L. 2006. Affect and Self-Regulation. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 63: 149–164.

Marsh, W. H., U. Trautwein, O. Lüdtke, O. Köller & J. Baumert. 2005. Academic Self Concept,

Interest, Grades, and Standardized Test Scores: Reciprocal Effects Models of Causal Ordering.

Child Development, 76 (2): 397–416.

Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MOEVT). 2014. Sera ya Elimu na Mafunzo [Education

Training and Policy]. Dar es Salaam: MOEVT.

Mohamed, S. H. & A. R. Tarmizi. 2010. Anxiety in Mathematics Learning Among Secondary School

Learners: A Comparative Study Between Tanzania and Malaysia. Procedia Social and Behavioral

Sciences, 8: 498–504.

Musil, C. M., C. B. Warner, P. K. Yobas & S. L. Jones. 2002. A Comparison of Imputation Techniques

for Handling Missing Data. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 24(7): 815–829. doi:10.1177/

Muthén, B. O. 1994. Multilevel Covariance Structure Analysis. Sociological Methods & Research, 22(3):

–398. doi:10.1177/0049124194022003006.

National Examinations Council of Tanzania (NECTA). 2014. Certificate of Secondary Education

Examinations (CSEE) Schools Ranking:

Narciss, S. 2008. Feedback Strategies for Interactive Learning Tasks. In J. M. Spector, M. D. Merrill,

J. J. G. Van Merriënboer & M. P. Driscoll (eds.), Handbook of Research on Educational

Communications and Technology (pp. 125–143). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Ottevanger, W., J. Akker & L. Feiter. 2007. Developing Science, Mathematics, and ICT Education in SubSaharan Africa: Patterns and Promising Practices (Working Paper No. 101). Washington, DC: The

World Bank.

Pajares, F. 2006. Self-Efficacy Beliefs During Adolescence: Implications for Teachers and Parents. In

F. Pajares & T. Urdan (Eds.), Adolescence and Education. Vol. 5: Self-Efficacy Beliefs of Adolescents (pp.

–367). Information Age Publishing: Greenwich.

Pellegrino, J.W. 2014. Assessment as a Positive Influence on 21st Century Teaching and Learning: A

Systems Approach to Progress. International Association for Educational Assessment, Singapore.

Peugh, L. J. & C.K. Enders. 2004. Missing Data in Educational Research: A Review of Reporting

Practices and Suggestions for Improvement. Review of Educational Research, 74(4): 525–556.


Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). 2004. 2003 Technical Report. Paris, France:


Rach, S., S. Ufer & A. Heinze. 2013. Learning from Errors: Effects of Teachers’ Training on Students’

Attitudes Towards and Their Individual Use of Errors. Proceedings of the National Academy of

Sciences, 8(1), 21–30.

Schunk, D. H. 1984. Sequential Attributional Feedback and Children’s Achievement Behaviors.

Journal of Educational Psychology, 75, 511–518.

Stevens, T., A. Olivarez, Jr. & D. Hamman. 2006. The Role of Cognition, Motivation, and Emotion in

Explaining the Mathematics Achievement Gap Between Hispanic and White Students. Hispanic

Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 28: 161–186.

Strijbos, J. W., R. L. Martens, F. J. Prins & W. M. G. Jochems. 2006. Content Analysis: What Are They

Talking About? Computers and Education, 46(4): 29–48. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2005.04.002.

Strijbos, J.W., S. Narciss & K. Dünnebier. 2010. Peer Feedback Content and Sender’s Competence

Level in Academic Writing Revision Tasks: Are They Critical for Feedback Perceptions and Efficiency? Learning and Instruction. 20(4): 291–303. doi:10.1016/j.learninstruc.2009.08.008.

Tella, A. 2011. An Assessment of Mathematics Self-Efficacy of Secondary School Students in Osun State,

Nigeria. IFE Psychologia: An International Journal. 19(1); 430–440. doi:10.4314/ ifep.v19i1.64611.

Usher, E. L. & F. Pajares. 2009. Sources of Self-Efficacy in Mathematics: A Validation Study.

Contemporary Educational Psychology, 34: 89–101.

Van De Ridder, J. M., C. M. Peters, K. M. Stokking, J. A. De Ru & O. J. Ten Cate. 2015. Framing of

Feedback Impacts Student’s Satisfaction, Self-Efficacy and Performance. Advances in Health

Sciences Education. 20(3): 803–816. doi:10.1007/s10459-014-9567-8.

Yu-Liang, C. & W. Su-Chiao. 2012. Do Our Fifth Graders Have Enough Mathematics Self-Efficacy for

Reaching Better Mathematical Achievement? In Tso, T. Y. (ed.). Proceedings of the 36th Conference

of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Vol. 2, pp. 99–106. Taipei,

Taiwan: PME.


  • There are currently no refbacks.