Australian Journal of Education

Article Title

The influence of ability beliefs and motivational orientation on the self-efficacy of high school science students in Thailand


This study investigated the influence of entity beliefs, gender stereotypes and motivational goals on participants’ self-efficacy in biology and physics and their career aspirations. Participants (n = 2638, males 46% and females 54%) were students enrolled in Years 10–12 of the academic science–maths stream in Thailand. Entity beliefs were endorsed significantly more by males than by females, while gender stereotypes were endorsed significantly more by females than by males. Entity beliefs were found to be significantly and positively associated with performance avoidance goals towards science. Multiple regression analysis found a negative influence of performance avoidance goals and a positive influence of mastery goals on males’ and females’ self-efficacy in physics and biology and their career aspirations. The stereotype ‘males are better in physics’ had a positive influence on the measure of self-efficacy of males in physics studies and a negative influence on the self-efficacy of females. The stereotype ‘females are better in biology’ had no influence on the measure of self-efficacy in biology studies for either males or females. Our results support a view of subject-specific inquiry as more revealing than global inquiry for the investigation of gender differences in achievement-related beliefs.