Relevance: The Right to Education in Act in India has seen an increase in girls’ access to education. However, social and cultural hurdles to retaining girls in school long enough for the completion of 10th grade persist and dropout among girls continues. Second chance education (SCE) is a promising alternative to traditional schooling to offer girls in India the chance to complete up to the minimum standard. SCE is a form of skills bridging. It is s defined not only in terms of enabling out-of-school youth access to school, but also in terms of giving them opportunities to find decent work, earn a living, contribute to their communities and societies, and fulfill their potential. This study investigated the features of a Second Chance Education program offered in India and their influence on girls’ sense of capacity for lifelong learning and mathematics achievement.
Theory / Context: The study is conceptually grounded in Bandura’s (1977) concept of self-efficacy to understand girls’ sense of capability. Self-efficacy refers to an individual’s belief about their own capabilities. Self-efficacy is domain-specific. Individuals are likely to have high sense of self-efficacy in some domains and low self-efficacy in others. Within a given domain, self-efficacy has real and measureable effects. Individuals with high self-efficacy aspire higher, try harder, persist longer and feel less anxious about their attempts (Wuepper 2017).
Related to the concept of self-efficacy are outcome expectancy and locus of control. Outcome expectancy refers to one’s estimate that a given behavior will lead to certain outcomes. Bandura (1982) asserts that behavior is best predicted through examination of both self-efficacy and outcome expectancy beliefs. Efficacy and outcome expectations are differentiated because individuals can believe that a particular course of action will produce certain outcomes, but if they have doubts about whether they can perform the necessary activities then such information does not influence their behavior (Bandura 1977). Locus of control captures whether individuals feel generally in control of actions or situations.
The research questions guiding this study: To what extent do students feel capable upon completing the Second Chance Education program? What is the relationship between student sense of capacity and student mathematics achievement?
Inquiry: Case study was conducted to explore the research questions through quantitative means. A student survey was designed in coordination with the Second Chance Program and included the following Likert scales: (1) capacity to perform skills as intended by Second Chance program; (2) effectiveness of Second Chance program; (3) control over their own achievement; (4) time on study; (5) effectiveness as a learner; and (6) satisfaction with Second Chance program. Basic 10th Standard Mathematics competency test questionnaire was included.
A total of 842 students responded to the survey measuring capacity and the test questionnaire assessing mathematics competency. Respondents represented 9 states of India where the Second Chance programs are implemented.
Statistical analyses were performed using Lavaan. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was performed to investigate the predictors of students’ sense of self-efficacy (self-efficacy) upon completing the Second Chance Education program. In the analysis, capacity was correlated with the following exogenous (independent) variables: outcome expectancy, control, effectiveness and demographic factors (i.e. location, age, age of school dropout, marital status, number of children, number of children attending school, work status, mode of travel to program, and frequency of absence from program).
Multiple regression analysis was used to investigate the relationship between students’ sense of self-efficacy and math achievement. Math Score was the dependent variable, and the independent variables were factors under Student Personal Self-Efficacy, Student Outcome Expectancy and Student Control.
Findings: The model for predicting students’ sense of self-efficacy was found to be near a good fit to the data. The measurement model showed that each item measure is significantly related to its construct at 5% level. The following exogenous variables have a significant positive effect on self-efficacy: outcome expectancy and effectiveness. Exogenous variable resulting in a significant negative effect on self-efficacy include location, marital status, number of children and frequency of absence from program.
The results indicated that the model for Student Outcome Expectancy was the only significant predictor of math achievement. Factors identified as positively significant in predicting Math Score include: faculty and tutors’ visits to students’ home and advice from faculty and tutors on academic matters. Feedback received on tests was a factor identified as negatively significant in predicting Math Score.
Findings suggest that the extent of students’ outcome expectancy for home visits and academic advice from faculty and tutors is a predictor of their math achievement. While most students rated academic advice as having a strong influence on their learning, it is noted that a lower proportion of students rated home visits as having a strong influence on their learning. About 20% of students rated home visits as having little or no impact. Pratham may assess the utility of home visits in regards to academic support offered.
It is very surprising that findings suggest that students’ outcome expectancy for feedback received on tests is negatively correlated to math achievement. On average, most students rated feedback on tests as having a strong influence on their learning. It is deduced that perhaps students’ outcome expectancy for feedback on tests is in relation to literacy learning given the strong sense of self efficacy for writing. Students’ outcome expectancy for feedback on tests in relation to math learning may be different. Pratham may assess the type of feedback offered in relation to testing of math ability.
The findings suggest that an increase in students’ sense of outcome expectancy for academic advice from faculty and tutors and home visits would have a positive effect on math achievement although very minimally. Reducing students’ sense of outcome expectancy for feedback received from tests is contrary to student-centered pedagogy. Further speculation is necessary into the feedback received on tests, especially for math learning.
Contributions. Findings from this study contribute to the literature on student self-efficacy and resilience and on girls’ education. Findings also contribute to Second Chance Education program design for optimal learning and support to girls’ education.
Swetal Sindhvad is former Education Specialist for Asian Development Bank (ADB). During her tenure at ADB, she led the development, management and evaluation of sovereign lending projects in the education and training sector for governments in Southeast Asia. Currently, she is founding Executive Director of i3Development leading education research and capacity development initiatives in emerging economies of Asia. Her research focuses on school dropout prevention, as well as educational governance, school management, and public private partnerships in education. She also serves as Adjunct Professor at Drexel University where she has taught courses in education policy analysis and comparative higher education.
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