The relationship between academic self-concept, attainment and personality in 16-19 year old students in a sixth form college
The research examines a cohort of 364 16-17 year old students entering a sixth form college. The focus of the research is an examination of the relationship between academic self-concept, attainment and personality. Issues of gender and ethnicity were also examined. Data was obtained by the use of personality measures, students' self-estimates of success, examination results and information obtained from application forms, academic reports and Record of Achievement profiles. The students completed two personality measures on entry. The Student Self-Perception Scale was devised specifically for this research and was piloted on students from two sixth form colleges prior to use with the research sample. The Nowicki-Strickland Locus of Control Scale was also used as a validity measure. Basic statistics were obtained using a Pearson Product Moment correlation analysis and a frequency and cross-tabulation programme. A specific residual was generated using multiple linear regression analysis and used as a variable to indicate positive or negative attainment change. A classification of students into identifiable types was carried out using cluster analysis by relocation methods. Differences between the groups were verified by discriminant function analysis. Profiles were constructed to describe typical group members in detail and to examine outliers who failed to qualify for group membership. The hypothesis of a positive relationship between mastery and academic attainment was not sustained. Previous attainment would seem to be the major factor determining future attainment. Gender differences emerged on both the personality and attainment measures. It was found that personality measures exerted a substantial effect on performance independent of ability. Cluster analysis revealed identifiable groups of students exhibiting varying patterns of relationship between personality, self-concept and attainment, which stood up well in terms of construct validity against previous studies. The findings have implications for all providers of education for 16-19 year old students.