Students goal orientation, self-efficacy and epistemic beliefs before and during Covid-19 A natural experiment
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As the Covid-19 pandemic has had a global impact on students such as higher stress levels and feelings of inadequacy, one of the purposes of this study is to explore the possible influence Covid-19 has had on students college self-efficacy (CSE). The method applied for this thesis was a natural experiment methodology as Covid-19 occurred as an experiment without us being able to intervene. The direct relationship between students goal orientation pre Covid-19 and their CSE during Covid-19 was also examined. Further, two competing hypotheses were also tested in order to investigate the possible mediation epistemic beliefs may have in relation to goal orientation. The opposite is also tested where goal orientation is the mediating variable. A survey among 1251 students at a university in Norway indicated a significant drop in their CSE from before to during Covid-19. Mastery orientation seemed to have a direct positive effect on CSE, whilst no such effect was found in relation to performance orientation. No support for goal orientation to mediate the relationship between epistemic beliefs and CSE was found, neither was epistemic beliefs when this was applied as the mediator between goal orientation and CSE. Despite no major findings, some indications that goal orientation partly mediates the relationship between epistemic beliefs and CSE were present. This is something future studies should clarify. Implications and suggestions for future research is also discussed.