"But I did practice!" Self-reported versus observed self-regulated practice behaviors
Holmes-Davis, Tina M.
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The primary purpose for this study was to learn more about the practice habits of young musicians by evaluating whether self-reported data collected with Miksza's (2012) Measure of Self-Regulated Practice Behavior for Beginning and Intermediate Instrumental Students (MSRPBBIIS) was predictive of the observed practice behaviors of young musicians. A secondary purpose was to examine the interactions between self-reported and observed practice behaviors in the self-regulated musical dimensions method (strategy selection and usage), time usage (time management behaviors), and behavior (choosing and monitoring outcome behaviors) and selected moderator variables to develop a more detailed understanding of students' practice and practice perceptions. Participants (N = 45) were selected from four Georgia schools. Miksza (2012) showed that data gathered with the MSRPBBIIS had acceptable internal consistency, reliability over time, and preliminary validity levels, but questioned the predictive validity of the self-report format. My regression analyses revealed that the MSRPBBIIS lacked predictive validity in all three observable dimensions: method (strategy selection and usage), time usage (time management behaviors), and behavior (choosing and monitoring outcome behaviors). This finding could be due to the unreliability of the self-report format in that young musicians may either report or perceive their practice efforts differently (as surveyed) than they regulate them (as observed). I found differences in the observed self-regulated learning behaviors of various subgroups within my sample. For example, high school students demonstrated more self-regulated learning behaviors than middle school students. Students who reported taking private lessons demonstrated more self-regulated learning behaviors than those who reported no private lessons. Additionally, percussionists demonstrated more self-regulated learning behaviors than woodwinds or brass students. Differences in self-reported self-regulated practice behaviors among subgroups repeatedly conflicted with observed self-regulated practice behaviors. Middle school students demonstrated less observed self-regulated learning behaviors but reported higher motive (self-efficacy, self- determination, and goal-setting), which means that they worked without an apparent plan, but were more confident that they would achieve success. Woodwinds also reported higher levels of self-regulated practice behaviors than percussion, but demonstrated these behaviors less during observations. Findings from this research suggest that teachers may not be able to rely on students' descriptions of their own practice efforts, and that those efforts vary according to private lessons, instrument family, and grade levels. Because students in my sample appeared to follow their band class routines during practice, overtly teaching and modeling self-regulated practice strategies during instrumental rehearsals and lessons might allow teachers to influence their students' practice behaviors.