Due to the recent call for reform in science education, there has been a resurgence of interest in inquiry-based learning. Recent research has explored the idea of implementing and designing inquiry laboratories that are more effective in promoting students' understanding of complex topics (Sundberg & Moncada, 1994; Deckert et al., 1998; & Tamir et al., 1998). Other studies have looked at how students' prior knowledge effect or change their performance in biology and chemistry inquiry settings (Johnson & Lawson, 1998; Decker et al., 1998). Little research has been done on how self-efficacy effects students perform in an inquiry setting. In 1977, Bandura proposed that the beliefs a person has about whether they can perform a specific task would affect their effort in that given task or behavior (Bandura, 1977) this was termed self-efficacy. Since the original paper in 1977, research has focused on the theory of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is hypothesized to have an effect on student performance and achievement in science and technical fields, as well as, playing a role in career selection in the above mentioned fields (Pajares, 1996; Betz & Hackett, 1981; & Lent et al., 1984 & 1986). However, the only known study on self-efficacy in a biology context was essentially the development of an assessment tool (Baldwin et al., 1999). We therefore, have looked at how self-efficacy is related to performance in inquiry laboratories. More specifically, we have investigated the relationship of self-efficacy and inquiry in introductory biology laboratories across the Front Range at both four-year universities and community colleges.

Key words: inquiry-based learning, introductory biology laboratories, science education, self-efficacy