This investigation focused on the interrelationships among students' study activities, students' self-concept of academic ability ratings, students' academic achievement, and instructional practices in 12 high school biology courses. Using a framework derived from a previous investigation, course features were classified into those that appear to (a) place demands on, (b) support, or (c) compensate for student engagement in particular study activities. Students' study activities, self-concept of academic ability ratings, and achievement were measured with experimenter-developed instruments. Results are reported for (a) characteristics of instruments and course features, (b) relationships between central factors of the investigation, and (c) multi-level relationships between course features and student variables. Results at the student level indicated that self-concept of academic ability and, to a lesser extent, students' study activities were positively associated with student achievement. Students' self-concept of academic ability ratings were also linked to students' engagement in generative, proactive study activities. At the course level the supportive practices of providing challenging homework assignments and extensive feedback on student coursework were associated with student engagement in effortful, generative, proactive study activities. The provision of extensive feedback was also associated with high student achievement. Multi-level relationships were analysed using hierarchical linear modelling (HLM) analyses. These analyses revealed, for example, that in courses in which little or no feedback is given on homework assignments, the relationship between achievement and student engagement in diligent effort management activities was enhanced. Other HLM analyses were conducted to examine the mediating role of course features on the relationship between students' self-concept of academic ability and their study activities and achievement. For example, the presence of challenging course demands was associated with an enhancement of the relationship between self-concept of academic ability and achievement whereas the presence of instructor provisions (supports and compensations) designed to reduce course demands was associated with a reduction in this relationship.
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