The role of tutoring on self-efficacy & future career expectations for at-risk adolescents

Michael, R. (2019). Self-efficacy and future career expectations of at-risk adolescents: The contribution of a tutoring program. Journal of Community Psychology, 47(4), 913-923.

Summarized by Ariel Ervin

 Notes of Interest:

  • Michael’s (2019) study analyzes the impact of tutoring on self-efficacy and future career expectations for at-risk students.
  • 147 tutors and 98 students participated in the research by filling out the Work and Education sub-scale of the Future Expectations Scale for Adolescents, the Self‐Efficacy Questionnaire for Children, as well as filling out background questionnaire at the beginning of the study and then near the end of the eighth month of tutoring.
  • All the participants stated that the students had higher levels of career expectations and higher levels of emotional and social self-efficiency when the year was almost over.
  • Results also suggest that shifts in social and academic self-efficacy predict shifts in students’ expectations for the future.

Introduction (Reprinted from the Abstract)

Tutoring and mentoring programs may be a promising intervention to help at‐risk children who may be in need of a positive influence in their lives. The purpose of the current study was to examine the contribution of tutoring to at‐risk adolescents’ self‐efficacy and future career expectations. Ninety‐eight tutees and 147 college student tutors completed the Self‐Efficacy Questionnaire for Children, the Work and Education subscale of the Future Expectations Scale for Adolescents, and a background questionnaire twice: first at the beginning and then toward the end of 8 months of tutoring. Both tutees and tutors reported higher levels of tutees’ social and emotional self‐efficacy as well as future expectations toward the end of the year. Tutors also reported higher levels of tutee academic self‐efficacy. Increased self‐efficacy was associated with increased levels of future expectations. Changes in academic and social self‐efficacy predicted changes in tutees’ future career expectations. Implications for theory and research are discussed.

Implications (Reprinted from the Discussion)

In general, both tutees and tutors who participated in the project reported higher levels of social and emotional self‐efficacy and career expectations among the tutees toward the end of the tutoring activity as compared with its beginning 7 months earlier. These results imply that the tutoring project may have had a positive impact on tutees’ social and emotional self‐efficacy and their career expectations. The fact that both samples (tutees and tutors) reported an improvement in these aspects (self‐efficacy and expectations) supports the likelihood that the cause of the change was indeed participation in the tutoring project. Additionally, the positive outcomes of the tutoring project may have also contributed to tutors’ self‐confidence and competence (e.g., Race, 2010), although this issue was not examined in the current study. Since tutors have a key role in fostering engagement with learning among their tutees, it is worth evaluating the factors which contribute to their perceived competence and confidence

Interestingly, tutors, but not tutees, also reported higher levels of academic self‐efficacy among their tutees at the end of the project compared with its beginning. Since the project which was examined in the current study focused on academic assistance, one should expect tutees to specifically report a rise in their academic self‐efficacy following participation. In contrast, it may be that the fact that the project focused on academic study caused tutees to hold especially high expectations for improvement in this domain. Consequently, even if improvement did occur, it may be that it did not meet the tutees’ high expectations causing them to feel the same about themselves academically. Another explanation may be that the assistance tutees received during the project was perceived by them as essential and that they could not have succeeded academically without it. In other words, tutees may have felt that in order for them to reach academic achievements they will always need assistance and that is why their academic self‐efficacy did not change. Further research should incorporate variables such as tutees’ expectations from the tutoring project as well as their expectations for academic success in the future.


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