High School Students' Adaptation of Task Definitions, Goals and Plans to Task Complexity – The Impact of Epistemic Beliefs

Stephanie Pieschl, Freia Stallmann, Rainer Bromme


Accurate task perception is an important prerequisite for self-regulated learning. The present study explores if 12th-grade high school students (N=131) adapt their task definitions, goals and plans to task complexity when confronted with six differently complex tasks and if this process is related to their epistemic beliefs. Results indicate that students successfully discriminate between tasks and mostly adapt accordingly. For example, students plan to use the strategy of processing critically more frequently for progressively more complex tasks. These adaptations are also related to students' epistemic beliefs. For example, students who believe in variable knowledge plan more shallow approaches to learning for simple tasks and deeper approaches for complex tasks than their counterparts believing in stable knowledge.

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