Self-regulated learning predicts final grades in varsity student-athletes, but is there more than meets the eye?


Self-regulated learning (SRL) involves implementing goal-directed processes of self-awareness and control in pursuit of learning goals. SRL relates to achievement in several domains, but the relative value of domain-specificity in measurement remains unclear. This study examined the relationship between SRL and academic performance among incoming university student-athletes, while comparing measures varying in domain-specificity. Two cohorts (2017, 2020) of participants (N = 114; M-age = 19.2, SD = 1.0) completed two SRL surveys mid-year: (a) the Self-Regulation of Learning Self-Report Scale (SRL-SRS; Toering et al., 2012), a more dispositional measure from sport research; and (b) the Regulation of Learning Questionnaire (RLQ; McCardle & Hadwin, 2015), a more situational measure from education research. Linear regression was used to assess and compare prediction of end-of-term grades. When subscales from each survey were block entered separately, the SRL-SRS (R-squared = .193, p = .001) and the RLQ (R-squared = .192, p .100). Each survey still significantly predicted grades after controlling for cohort (SRL-SRS: p = .007; RLQ: p = .009). Findings suggest (a) dispositional and situational SRL measures similarly predicted student-athletes' academic success, (b) SRL sub-processes behave synergistically, and (c) SRL is influenced by a cohort's broader learning context.

Acknowledgments: This project is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.