Exploring the relationship between L2 language proficiency, language learning strategies, and self-efficacy: evidence from chilean classrooms


  • Marco Cancino Universidad Andres Bello
  • Renata Arenas Universidad Andres Bello
  • Camilo Herrera Universidad Andres Bello




language learning strategies, self-efficacy, EFL learning, L2 proficiency


Language learning strategy (LLS) use and L2 self-efficacy (SE) have been regarded as crucial for the development of
learners of a second language (Rose et al., 2018). Although the relationship between these two variables has been addressed in the literature, scant attention has been given to how L2 language proficiency is related to both constructs in EFL contexts. Therefore, the present quantitative study gathered questionnaire data to characterize the relationship between the LLSs, SE perceptions, and L2 language proficiency of 47 adult EFL learners at a Chilean university. Results revealed significant strong correlations between speaking SE and cognitive strategies, as well as between writing SE and memory strategies. Weak but significant correlations were found between language proficiency and receptive skills (listening and writing SE). Pedagogical implications refer to the ways in which EFL teachers can increase their learners’ use of metacognitive strategies and increase their SE.


Download data is not yet available.


Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy the exercise of control. New York: W. H. Freeman.

Barahona, M. (2014). "Exploring the curriculum of second language teacher education (SLTE) in Chile: A case study". Perspectiva Educacional, Formación de Profesores, 53/2, 45-67. https://doi.org/10.4151/07189729-Vol.53-Iss.2-Art.261

Barrios, E., & Montijano, M.P. (2017). "Uso declarado de estrategias y su variación según el nivel de competencia en aprendientes universitarios de inglés como lengua extranjera". Revista signos, 50/95, 312-336. https://doi.org/10.4067/S0718-09342017000300312

Cancino, M. (2020) Increasing EFL Learner Participation through Eliciting Language: Insights from Conversation Analysis. Journal of Language and Education, 6/2, 66-80. https://doi.org/10.17323/jle.2020.10304

Cancino, M. & Díaz, G. (2020). "Exploring the Code-Switching Behaviours of Chilean EFL High School Teachers: A Function-Focused Approach". Profile: Issues in Teachers' Professional Development, 22/2, 115-130. https://doi.org/10.15446/profile.v22n2.81152

Díaz Larenas, C., Tagle Ochoa, T., Alarcón Hernández, P., Quintana Lara, M., Ramos Leiva, L., & Vergara Morales, J. (2013). "Estudio de caso sobre las creencias de estudiantes de pedagogía en inglés respecto a la autoeficacia percibida y la enseñanza del idioma". Núcleo, 25/30, 41-67.

EF EPI Chile, (2020). EF English Proficiency Index. https://www.ef.com/assetscdn/WIBIwq6RdJvcD9bc8RMd/legacy/__/~/media/centralefcom/epi/downloads/full-reports/v10/ef-epi-2020-english.pdf [retrieved: 1.7.2021]

Fewell, N. (2010). "Language learning strategies and English language proficiency: An investigation of Japanese EFL university students". Tesol Journal, 2/1, 159-174.

Gacs, A., Goertler, S., & Spasova, S. (2020). "Planned online language education versus crisis-prompted online language teaching: Lessons for the future". Foreign Language Annals, 53/2, 380-392. https://doi.org/10.1111/flan.12460

Garbanzo Vargas, G.M. (2007). "Factores asociados al rendimiento académico en estudiantes universitarios, una reflexión desde la calidad de la educación superior pública". Revista Educación, 31/1, 43.63. https://doi.org/10.15517/revedu.v31i1.1252

Genç, G., Kuluşaklı, E., & Aydın, S. (2016). "Exploring EFL learners' perceived self-efficacy and beliefs on English language learning". Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 41/2, 53-68. https://doi.org/10.14221/ajte.2016v41n2.4

Green, J.M., & Oxford, R. (1995). "A closer look at learning strategies, L2 proficiency, and gender". TESOL Quarterly, 29/2, 261-297. https://doi.org/10.2307/3587625

Griffiths, C., & Oxford, R.L. (2014). "The twenty-first century landscape of language learning strategies: Introduction to this special issue". System 43, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2013.12.009

Li, C., Dewaele, J.-M., & Jiang, G. (2019). "The complex relationship between classroom emotions and EFL achievement in China". Applied Linguistics Review, 11/3, 485-510. https://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2018-0043

Magogwe, J.M., & Oliver, R. (2007). "The relationship between language learning strategies, proficiency, age and self-efficacy beliefs: A study of language learners in Botswana". System, 35/3, 338-352. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2007.01.003

Maican, M.A., & Cocoradă, E. (2021). "Online foreign language learning in higher education and its correlates during the COVID-19 pandemic". Sustainability, 13/2, 1-21. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020781

Meera, K.P., & Jumana, M.K. (2015). "Self-Efficacy and Academic Performance in English". Research in Pedagogy, 5/2, 25-30. https://doi.org/10.17810/2015.13

Ministerio de Educación. (2013). "Programa de estudio sexto año básico idioma extranjero Ingles". Gobierno de Chile. https://www.curriculumnacional.cl/614/articles-20549_programa.pdf [retrieved: 1.7.2021]

Ministerio de Educación. (2014). "Estándares orientadores para carreras de pedagogía en inglés". Gobierno de Chile. https://www.cpeip.cl/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Est%C3%A1ndares_Ingl%C3%A9s.pdf [retrieved: 1.7.2021]

Montaño-González, J., & Cancino, M. (2020). "Exploring the relationship between language learning strategies and self-efficacy of Chilean university EFL students". MEXTESOL Journal, 44/2, 1-16.

Norton, B., & Toohey, K. (2001). "Changing perspectives on good language learners". TESOL Quarterly, 35/2, 307-322. https://doi.org/10.2307/3587650

O'Malley, J.M., & Chamot, A. (1990). Learning strategies in second language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139524490

Oriol-Granado, X., Mendoza-Lira, M., Covarrubias-Apablaza, C.G., & Molina-López, V.M. (2017). "Positive emotions, autonomy support and academic performance of university students: The mediating role of academic engagement and self-efficacy". Revista de Psicodidáctica, 22/1, 45-53. https://doi.org/10.1387/RevPsicodidact.14280

Ouweneel, E., Schaufeli, W.B., & Le Blanc, P.M. (2013). "Believe, and you will achieve: Changes over time in self-efficacy, engagement, and performance". Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 5/2, 225-247. https://doi.org/10.1111/aphw.12008

Oxford, R. (1990). Language learning strategies: what every teacher should know. New York: Newbury House.

Qiu, J., Shen, B., Zhao, M., Wang, Z., Xie, B., & Xu, Y. (2020). "A nationwide survey of psychological distress among Chinese people in the COVID-19 epidemic: implications and policy recommendations". General psychiatry, 33/2. e100213. https://doi.org/10.1136/gpsych-2020-100213

Raoofi, S., Tan, B.H., & Chan, S.H. (2012). "Self-efficacy in second/foreign language learning contexts". English Language Teaching, 5/11, 60-73. https://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v5n11p60

Rose, H., Briggs, J.G., Boggs, J.A., Sergio, L., & Ivanova-Slavianskaia, N. (2018). "A systematic review of language learner strategy research in the face of self-regulation". System, 72, 151-163. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2017.12.002

Sardegna, V.G., Lee, J., & Kusey, C. (2018). "Self-efficacy, attitudes, and choice of strategies for English pronunciation learning". Language Learning, 68/1, 83-114. https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12263

Shi, H. (2018). "English language learners' strategy use and self- efficacy beliefs in English language learning". Journal of International Students, 8/2, 724-741. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v8i2.101

Si-Qing, C. (1990). "A study of communication strategies in interlanguage production by Chinese EFL learners". Language learning, 40/2, 155-187. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-1770.1990.tb01332.x

Stone, D.N. (1994). "Overconfidence in initial self-efficacy judgments: Effects on decision processes and performance". Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 59/3, 452-474. https://doi.org/10.1006/obhd.1994.1069

University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, (2001). Quick placement test: Paper and pen version pack. Oxford University Press.

Vancouver, J.B., & Kendall, L.N. (2006). "When self-efficacy negatively relates to motivation and performance in a learning context". Journal of applied psychology, 91/5, 1146-1153. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.91.5.1146

Vann, R.J., & Abraham, R.G. (1990). "Strategies of unsuccessful language learners". TESOL quarterly, 24/2, 177-198. https://doi.org/10.2307/3586898

Wang, C., Kim, D.H., Bai, R., & Hu, J. (2014). "Psychometric properties of a self-efficacy scale for English language learners in China". System, 44, 24-33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2014.01.015

Weinstein, C.E., Acee, T.W., & Jung, J. (2011). "Self-regulation and learning strategies". New directions for teaching and learning, 2011/126, 45-53. https://doi.org/10.1002/tl.443

Yang, P.L., & Wang, A.L. (2015). "Investigating the relationship among language learning strategies, English selfefficacy, and explicit strategy instructions". Taiwan Journal of TESOL, 12/1, 35-62.

Yılmaz, C. (2010). "The relationship between language learning strategies, gender, proficiency and self-efficacy beliefs: a study of ELT learners in Turkey". Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2/2, 682-687. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.03.084