Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.668970
Title: Non-intellectual influences on success and attainment in UK adolescents
Author: Gibson, Nicola H.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5368 1065
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2015
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Abstract:
The growing interest in positive factors that promote thriving and flourishing in psychology research and education in recent years has prompted an increased focus on the importance of non-intellectual or transferrable skills, in particular character strengths, social, and interpersonal abilities. A recent UK government white paper was published citing the importance of character in education; however, the extant research literature is largely drawn from American and Australian populations, with the majority of studies being cross sectional. Researchers and educators should be cautious of causal interpretations and generalisation of these findings to other populations. Research from the UK, with its differing culture and education system, is limited, and there is a clear need for longitudinal, UK research to clarify both the nature of these causal relationships, and whether USA findings can be generalised to the UK. Such research is particularly important in order to accurately inform and evaluate any potential applications of strengths based approaches in education. The current thesis reports findings from a short term, longitudinal study of the influence of self-perceived strengths on teacher assessments and exam results in a cohort of UK adolescents from 3rd to 4th year across two schools in Aberdeen. Pupils completed self-report measures of strengths (Strengths Assessment Inventory – Youth; SAI-Y), coping (WOC-R), Optimism (LOT-R), and Trait Affect (PANAS) at three time points: baseline (time 1), 8 months later (time 2), and a further 5 months later (time 3). Teacher assessments of pupil progress by subject for each participant were obtained following time 2 data collection and participant exam results after time 3. Chapter 1 (study 1a) reports the psychometric validation of a relatively new strengths measure for children and young people (SAI-Y) in a UK adolescent population, based on time 1 data. Findings show the psychometric properties and factorial structure of the SAI-Y compare well with previous validation studies, indicating this measure is a valid tool for describing character strengths in UK as well as US adolescents. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to derive an empirical factor structure for the SAI-Y. The psychometric data and analyses suggest that the factorial structure of the SAI-Y is different in the study population, but that the new 12 factor structure is valid for this sample. In addition, relative to the other measures used in this study, the SAI-Y captures a range of differing constructs relative to the WOC-R, PANAS and LOT-R, so that the SAI-Y is a useful, psychometrically valid tool for measuring a wider range of non-intellectual abilities in future strengths based research. Chapter 2 (study 1b) reports findings on the predictive relationship between pupils self-reported strengths at time 1, and teacher assessments of pupil progress at time 2, as investigated using exploratory and stepwise regression analyses. Findings showed that Pupils who score highly on Functional Behaviour (SAI-Y) tend to be assessed as excelling or performing in line with expectations by teachers 8 months later. In particular, pupils who self-report higher levels of Functional Behaviour are more likely to be assessed as excelling than performing as expected, in that functional behaviour was more strongly predictive of Green (excelling) than of Amber (performing as expected) assessments. Chapter 3 (study 1c) reports the results of exploratory and stepwise regression analyses to determine the predictive relationships between pupil self-reported strengths and exam results. Findings indicate that Functional Behaviour is consistently predictive of 13 successful academic achievement, particularly for higher levels of attainment (e.g. cumulative Total Score, A and B awards at N5, and proportion of exams passed at N5 level). Chapter 4 (study 1d) addresses the predictive relationships between teacher assessments of pupil progress and exam results, based on data from time 1 and 3. Analyses of Pupil Progress assessments for pupils participating at Time 1 and 3, using both exploratory and stepwise regression, showed a consistent, predictive relationship between Green (exceeding expectations) assessments and higher levels of exam success (N5 total score, percentage of passes at N5, and number of A, B, and C grades at N5). Analyses indicate Amber pupil progress to be a consistent predictor of almost all levels of exam success. Chapter 5 (study 1e) Investigates the Influence of time on predictors of outcomes (Teacher Assessments and Exams), as well as the relative influence of Strengths and Teacher Assessments on Exam Outcomes. Longitudinal regression analyses to assesses the influence of time in the predictive relationships found between Strengths and positive outcomes (Teacher Assessments and Exams), as well as the relative predictive influence of Strengths and Teacher Assessments on Exam outcomes, were conducted based on data from Time 1 and Time 3. Findings are interpreted and discussed in the context of strengths based educating, successful learning, and positive youth development; recommendations for future research directions are considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.668970  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Success in adolescence ; Life skills
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