Self-Regulation of Middle School Students With Learning Disabilities During a Complex Project-Based Science Activity

  •  Sheri Berkeley    
  •  Anna Larsen    
  •  Amanda Colburn    
  •  Robert Yin    


Self-regulation is widely considered important for the academic success of students. Yet, there is limited research about how students self-regulate during complex, long-term learning tasks, such as the project-based learning activities that commonly occur as part of science classroom instruction. There is also less known about how atypical learners, including students with learning disabilities (LD), self-regulate academic tasks. The current multiple case study explores these gaps in the research base through an investigation of how middle school students with language-based LDs self-regulated their learning during a complex, science-based project—creation of computerized serious educational games (SEG) about renewable energy sources. Findings from the current study suggest that there is a relationship between attributions that students with LD make for their performance and their self-efficacy for learning, but only under specific conditions. The role of this relationship seems to diminish when a student poorly calibrates perception of ability relative to actual performance and when a student perceives the cost of effort to outweigh the benefit.

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