Running head: ACADEMIC ATTAINMENT
Academic Attainment and Values
University of Central Missouri
Academic Attainment and Values
The United States of America has progressed from an agricultural nation to an industrial one, and now, a nation dependent on knowledge. Because of this, for a person to thrive in a nation such as the United States it is pivotal they obtain quality fundamental education, kindergarten-high school. Fundamental education is designed to prepare students to succeed in life post-high school. It is supposed to teach students basic information like math, English & grammar, science, and history. More importantly, fundamental education builds student’s organization, time-management, and other skills essential to succeed in an information based society. Consequently, if a person does not receive a good quality education they are ill-equipped and less likely to succeed. In addition to the institution itself providing a good quality education, effort and a desire from the student to learn the information is imperative as well for them to succeed. Students exhibit their effort and desire to learn via their grades. The purpose of this study is to find if there is a correlation between intrinsic values and a student’s grade point average.
So, what factors do in fact differ between an ‘A’ student and a ‘D’ student? The valedictorian from someone who ranks number ninety-eight amongst their classmates? Someone who scores a 32 on the ACT versus someone who scores an 18? More importantly, do intrinsic values affect academic success? Fredrick Herzberg (1959) would say yes; his two-factor motivation theory argues motivators are internally-generated drives [that] sustain effort as cited in Jones & Lloyd, 2005. In addition, Bassett-Jones and Lloyd (2005) repeated Herzberg’s experiment coming to the same conclusion; “whilst inducements can move employees…the numbers involved are significantly less than those who are motivated”(Jones & Lloyd, 2005, p.241). Therefore, the external influences like class size that are typically thought to influence the efficiency of education cannot fully account for a person’s academic attainment. Complementing, Herzberg’s theory (1959), Kim & Park (2006) also found Korean students are “motivated to do well in even in class sizes of fifty”. Further proving, even if the external influences are improved, such as smaller class sizes, there will not be more success.
As well, traditional approaches: class size, innate ability, and personality do not statistically explain the substantially lower academic performance of US students and that of Korean students. Despite the fact 82% of American students view schoolwork as important (Rask, 2002); “America ranks nineteenth and eighteenth in math and science amongst 39 countries, Korean students rank second and fifth in math and science when compared to the same thirty-nine countries (Kim & Park, 2006, p.288). In addition to exceptional rankings, Koreans also showcase a practical example of personal values effect on attainment. In 1960 the per capita income of South Korea was $82; by 1997 their per capita income increased to $10,000 (Kim &Park, 2006). By making comparisons via indigenous psychology, Kim & Park, 2006 found significant differences between South Korean and U.S students. Indigenous psychology examines knowledge, skills and beliefs people have in their natural contexts (Kim & Park, 2006, p.290). One difference between South Korean and U.S. students is “as children grow up they are expected to transfer their loyalty form their mothers to their teachers” (Kim & Park, 2006, p.290). This close interpersonal relationship forces students to be accountable because they are socialized to value their instructors opinion. Contrarily, in the US students are hardly encouraged to beak superficial relationship boundaries. Therefore students only exude the effort they would for a stranger unless otherwise motivated. Moreover, empirical studies (Kim & Park, 2006) note that after the reat economic crisis in South Korea, the people more so emphasized self-regulation and increased their family and pro-social values. Thus, over a 40 year period their per capita income increased at an unparallel rate. Moreover, in Korean society only effort, self-discipline, persistence, and most importantly positive parental influence, are viewed to bring success (Kim & Park, 2006).
Supplementing Herzberg (1959) and Kim & Park’s (2006) findings, Finger & Schlesser’s (1963) study of academic performance of public and private schooled students, also highlights the effect of personal values has on a students academic achievement. Inspired by a handful of studies ( Lathrop & Keiffer, 1959; McArthur, 1954; Seltzer, 1948; Shuey, 1956 and Shuey, 1958) concluded “public schooled students receive higher grades in college than do privately schooled students” as cited in Finger & Schlesser (1963), Finger & Schlesser ran a series of comparisons to discover if academic ability and/or academic motivation influenced the performance of each group. Surprisingly, students who attended public school tend to be more motivated, self-disciplined, and exhibit more effort than those who attended private schools. Also, after equalizing both academic ability and academic motivation, the mean grade point average only differed by .10. Meaning, public schooled student’s mean may have equaled 3.1 and private schooled teachers equaled 3.0. Thus, Finger & Schlesser’s work further suggests intrinsic values affecting a student’s academic success. More specifically, motivation and self-discipline are values embedded in most religions, which further supports my hypothesis.
Some institutions in the medical field are already applying the suggestions of earlier research. Because scholastic factors have been reliable predictors of medical school success, admission departments emphasize a student’s grade point average and school-exit exams as criteria for acceptance. But due to much scrutiny toward which students are admitted into medical school, the General Medical Council, the committee responsible for overseeing all medical school admissions, conducted a study on new methods to widen the selection of medical school students (Lumsden 2005), yet still only admit those are most likely to succeed in medical school, and more importantly, the medical field. Unfortunately, academic attainment is heavily influenced by factors that should be irrelevant, such as social class and race. Consequently, society ends up with doctors mostly representing the upper class, who usually share the same perspectives and values as each other, which does not accurately reflect the variety of people they are serving. Doctors are responsible for treating both physical and emotional wounds; therefore, it is pivotal to “graduate doctors who reflect the values of and are in tune with the community” ( Lumsden 2005 p. 258). And it is very beneficial to use a test that measures subjective qualities-like interpersonal skills. Recognizing the importance of this, the General Medical Council considered using a Personal Quality Assessment(PQA) The PQA is a psychometric test used to determine the level of common pro-social values like level of communication skills, the degree to which the individual freedom at the expense of societal needs of the needs and expectations of society at the expense of the individual. All three of which are usually heightened in a more religious person because most religions emphasizes self-sacrifice. Furthermore, after administering the PQA to 510 Scottish medical school applicants, more applicants were accepted into medical school based on its criteria. “The aim of a medical school admission procedure is to select those who will perform well as undergraduates and make good doctors in the future”, thereby, adding the PQA will help even out the playing field for those not fortunate enough to receive a quality education.
Since the commencement of organized education, it is a well accepted ideology that studying and attending school regularly influences a student’s chance for academic success. Whether concerning classroom grades, standardized tests, or college entrance exams, a significant amount of research supports the common ideology. But are studying and consistent attendance the sole determinants of achievements? No. New approaches and measures are showing more and more that innate and/or learned intrapersonal factors such as a person’s values; religious, social, occupational or scholastic, affects a student’s academic attainment; especially, self-motivation and self-discipline. For that reason, I hypothesize students with higher religiosity will have higher grade point averages.
27 young adults from the Midwest, mostly college students. The college students were from various businesses to introductory psychology classes. The participants were recruited via the Sona system, an online program designed to advertise and easily allow student to participate in studies on campus. Participants submitted their entries anonymously, so there was no deciphering between genders.
A compatible PC or apple computer and mouse, Sona system, Simple Survey Builder, online survey (see Appendix A), SPSS (analyzing software), Microsoft Excel
Participants will be in varying environments because it was an online survey format. First, the informed consent will appear. After clicking their agreement, participants will be instructed to complete the main survey. Following the survey, a debriefing page will appear with print options. At this time participation is complete. It will take the participant approximately thirty minutes to complete.
After running a Pearson correlation, there is no significant correlation between students’ religiosity and their grade point average, r(27)= -.02, p> .05. Which lead to accepting the null; a student’s religiosity does not correlate with their grade point average. An additional analysis was run as well. The one way ANOVA, was conducted to measure if a difference existed between students who preferred work versus people who preferred school on their GPA and religiosity. The one-way ANOVA concluded there is no significant difference between those who prefer work and those who prefer school on their GPA, F(1,24)=.35, p>.05. As well, there is also no significant difference between those who prefer work and those who prefer school on their religiosity, F(1,24)=.09, p>.05.
Unfortunately, this study did not provide any significant association between a student’s religiosity and their grades. Despite research such as Herzberg’s and Kim & Park’s, religious values do not motivate students to do well, or so shows this study. However, several limitations may have influenced the results. Firstly, the data was collected over a very short period of time, 24-48 hours, and there were only twenty-seven participants. A larger N may reveal a stronger correlation. Secondly, a couple of the items may have caused a ceiling effect because they were questions concerning common ideologies. For example, for item 26 “How important is school to you?” over ninety percent of the participants answered ‘5’, the highest value. Thirdly, more participants than expected did not believe in a higher power; therefore, skewing the data further. All in all, upon repeating the study I would remove questions such as item twenty-six as well as use more questions that have already been established valid. I would also like to analyze if there is a correlation between other personal values: social, academic, or occupational on a student’s GPA.
Finger, J. & Schlesser, G. (1963). Academic performance of public and private school students.
Educational Psychology, 54, 118-112.
Jones, N. & Lloyd, G. (2005). Does Herzberg’s motivation theory have staying power? Journal
of Management Development, 24, 929-943.
Kim, U. & Park, Y. (2006) Indigenous psychology analysis of academic achievement in Korea:
the influence of self-efficacy, parents, and culture. International Journal of Psychology,
Lumsden, M., Bore, M., & Millar, K. (2005). Assesment of personal qualities in relation to
admission to medical school. Medical education, 39, 258-265
Rask, K., Astedt-Kurki, P., Laippala, P. (2002). Adolescent subjective well-being and realized
values. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 38, 254-263.
Valid N (listwise)
Results From Pearson Correlation Test
Sum of Squares
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