[CPCN Seminar] Individual Differences in Learning v Achievement: What Self-Regulation Predicts and What’s Next


Anahid Modrek

Date and Location

April 14, 2017 12:00pm
Psychology Room 1312


What makes some students more effective learners and better academic performers than others? Is the answer identical with respect to learning and academic achievement, or do the contributing factors differ? I examined two kinds of self-regulation – cognitive regulation and behavior regulation – as predictors of individual differences in middle-school students’ learning and academic achievement. Across several studies, cognitive regulation predicted learning effectiveness on inquiry learning, whereas behavior regulation predicted academic achievement (assessed by state-administered standardized achievement tests). Longitudinal analyses, however, suggested that it is indeed cognitive regulatory processes, not behavior regulation, that predict learning effectiveness, which in turn predict improvement on both Math and English state standardized test scores. These results suggest that (a) learning and academic achievement are distinct constructs, and (b) cognitive regulation is the more consequential long-term predictor of both learning and academic achievement. But to what extent do students’ learning effectiveness become impacted by teachers’ instruction? That is, how does epistemic cognition interact with, or impact, individual differences? Moving forward, I discuss an ongoing multi-year study on a large sample of adolescents (n=696) with an intervention aimed at a professional development effort on two-dozen teachers (n=25). Baseline analyses will be discussed, in aims to infer students’ differential susceptibility to the teacher manipulation, as well as exploring interactions between teachers’ and respective student’s autonomy, reasoning, and discourse.


Dept. of Psychological & Brain Sciences, UCSB