A comparison of high achievers' and low achievers' attitudes, perceptions, and motivations.
The purpose of this study was to compare high achieving and low achieving adolescents' attitudes toward school, attitudes toward teachers, goal-valuation, motivation, and general academic self-perceptions. Specifically, we sought to determine whether high achievers really differed from low achievers on these five factors, and to ascertain which of the five factors were the best predictors of students' status as either a high achiever or a low achiever. The comparison of the scores of high achievers and low achievers on attitudes toward school, attitudes toward teachers, goal-valuation, motivation, and general academic self-perceptions revealed large differences between high achievers and low achievers on all five factors. However, two factors, academic self-perception and motivation/self-regulation, predicted students' achievement status as well as the five-factor model did. Using logistic regression In statistics, logistic regression is a regression model for binomially distributed response/dependent variables. It is useful for modeling the probability of an event occurring as a function of other factors. , these two subscales were able to classify clas·si·fy
tr.v. clas·si·fied, clas·si·fy·ing, clas·si·fies
1. To arrange or organize according to class or category.
2. To designate (a document, for example) as confidential, secret, or top secret. students' achievement status correctly over 85% of the time. These results suggest that high achievers and low achievers differ in both their motivational patterns and their academic self-perceptions. uture research should continue to explore the relationships between these student characteristics and academic achievement.
Every teacher knows at least one student who "could do better." These are the students who come to school without books or homework, the students who appear to choose not to study for exams, the students who seem unphased by parents' and teachers' pleas that their grades now will affect the rest of their professional lives. We commonly dub these students "underachievers."
Underachievement is most commonly defined as a discrepancy DISCREPANCY. A difference between one thing and another, between one writing and another; a variance. (q.v.)
2. Discrepancies are material and immaterial. between potential (or ability) and performance (or achievement) (Reis & McCoach, 2000). Therefore, a student who appears capable of succeeding in school but is nonetheless struggling is often referred to as an underachiever. Factors commonly associated with underachievement include low academic self-concept (Schunk, 1998; Supplee, 1990; Whitmore, 1980), low self-efficacy (Schunk, 1998), low self-motivation (Weiner, 1992), low goal-valuation (McCall, Evahn, & Kratzer, 1992), and negative attitude toward school and teachers (Colangelo, Kerr, Christensen, & Maxey, 1993; Ford, 1996; Rimm, 1995). Most of the literature on underachievement suggests that underachievers have lower academic self-perceptions, lower self-motivation and self-regulation, and less goal directed behavior, and more negative attitudes toward school than high achievers do (Reis & McCoach, 2000). However, the majority of research investigating the common characteristics of underachieving students has employed qualitative, clinical, or single subject research methodology. Very few large-scale quantitative studies have examined the legitimacy LEGITIMACY. The state of being born in wedlock; that is, in a lawful manner.
2. Marriage is considered by all civilized nations as the only source of legitimacy; the qualities of husband and wife must be possessed by the parents in order to make the offspring of these hypotheses (Reis & McCoach, 2000).
The purpose of this study was to compare high achieving and low achieving adolescents' attitudes toward school, attitudes toward teachers, goal-valuation, motivation, and general academic self-perceptions, using the School Attitude Assessment Survey-Revised (SAAS-R). Specifically, we sought to determine whether high achievers really differed from low achievers on these five factors, and to ascertain which factors were the best predictors of students' status as either a high achiever or a low achiever.
Review of the Literature
Students develop confidence in many ways, and those who are confident about their skills are more likely to engage in a variety of activities. The perceptions students have about their skills influence the types of activities they select, how much they challenge themselves at those activities, and the persistence (1) In a CRT, the time a phosphor dot remains illuminated after being energized. Long-persistence phosphors reduce flicker, but generate ghost-like images that linger on screen for a fraction of a second. they exhibit once they are involved in the activities (Ames, 1990; Bandura ban`dur´a
n. 1. A traditional Ukrainian stringed musical instrument shaped like a lute, having many strings. , 1977, 1986; Schunk, 1981, 1994). Perceptions or personal expectancies generally fall into two categories: self--efficacy and self-concept. Underachievers often exhibit low self-concept or low self-efficacy (Bruns, 1992; Dowdall & Colangelo, 1982; Ford, 1996; Supplee, 1990; Whitmore, 1980). Research suggests that as much as one third of the variance in achievement can be accounted for by academic self-perceptions (Lyon, 1993). The correlation of students' academic self-perceptions with their achievement raises an interesting but unanswered question. Do low self-perceptions cause underachievement, does underachievement result in a deterioration de·te·ri·o·ra·tion
The process or condition of becoming worse. of a student's self-perceptions, or does a third factor exert a negative influence on both academic self-perceptions and academic achievement? Future longitudinal studies longitudinal studies,
n.pl the epidemiologic studies that record data from a respresentative sample at repeated intervals over an extended span of time rather than at a single or limited number over a short period. of achievers and underachievers may help clarify the direction of causality causality, in philosophy, the relationship between cause and effect. A distinction is often made between a cause that produces something new (e.g., a moth from a caterpillar) and one that produces a change in an existing substance (e.g. between these two variables.
Attitude Toward School
Attitudes toward school consist of the students' self-reported interest in and positive feelings toward school. Previous research suggests that underachievers appear to display negative attitudes toward school (Bruns, 1992; Clark, 1988; Diaz, 1998; Ford, 1996; Frankel, 1965; Mandel & Marcus, 1988; McCall Evahn, & Kratzer, 1992; Rimm, 1995). "Research findings over many years have consistently indicated that young people who do well in school tend to be interested in learning" (Weiner, 1992, p. 260). Underachievers exhibit more negative attitudes toward school than average and high achievers do. Mandel and Marcus (1988) hypothesize hy·poth·e·size
v. hy·poth·e·sized, hy·poth·e·siz·ing, hy·poth·e·siz·es
To assert as a hypothesis.
To form a hypothesis. that when underachievement relates to personality and motivational characteristics, students exhibit negative attitudes toward school. Majoribanks (1992) found that children's cognitive attitudes toward school demonstrated moderate, statistically significant associations with achievement. Interestingly, in his study, affective affective /af·fec·tive/ (ah-fek´tiv) pertaining to affect.
1. Concerned with or arousing feelings or emotions; emotional.
2. attitudes toward school and achievement were correlated cor·re·late
v. cor·re·lat·ed, cor·re·lat·ing, cor·re·lates
1. To put or bring into causal, complementary, parallel, or reciprocal relation.
2. for girls, but not for boys. As with academic self-concept, although there appears to be a relationship between attitude toward school and achievement, this relationship does not suggest or determine any flow of causality between the two variables.
Attitude Toward Teachers and Classes
Because it is difficult to separate the confounding confounding
when the effects of two, or more, processes on results cannot be separated, the results are said to be confounded, a cause of bias in disease studies.
confounding factor effects of attitudes toward teachers and attitudes toward the classes they teach, the attitude toward teachers factor of the SAAS-R encompasses students' interest and positive affect toward their teachers and their classes. Students' interest in their coursework coursework
work done by a student and assessed as part of an educational course
Noun 1. coursework - work assigned to and done by a student during a course of study; usually it is evaluated as part of the student's is related to their use of self-regulatory strategies in the academic domain as well as their motivation (Scheifele, 1991; Wigfield, 1994) and their academic achievement.
Students who have positive views of their teachers are more likely to demonstrate achievement-oriented behaviors. Many underachievers exhibit problems with authority, including problems with teachers and school personnel (Mandel & Marcus, 1988; McCall et al., 1992), and they may exhibit hostility toward authority figures, including teachers (Mandel & Marcus, 1988). Therefore, students' attitudes toward their teachers and courses should be positively related to their academic achievement.
Motivation and Self-Regulation
The relationship between motivation and academic achievement is complex. However, self-regulation may hold the key to understanding student achievement. Self-regulation refers to students' "self-generated thoughts, feelings, and actions which are systematically oriented o·ri·ent
1. Orient The countries of Asia, especially of eastern Asia.
a. The luster characteristic of a pearl of high quality.
b. A pearl having exceptional luster.
3. towards the attainment of goals" (Zimmerman, 1994, p. ix). Self-regulation comprises processes by which people are metacognitively, motivationally, and behaviorally active participants in their own learning (Zimmerman, 1994). Self-regulation comprises three major stages: forethought fore·thought
1. Deliberation, consideration, or planning beforehand.
2. Preparation or thought for the future. See Synonyms at prudence. , volitional vo·li·tion
1. The act or an instance of making a conscious choice or decision.
2. A conscious choice or decision.
3. The power or faculty of choosing; the will. control, and self-reflection (Zimmerman, 1998). Self-regulation is a significant predictor of academic achievement, and the use of internalized self-regulatory strategies helps individuals to achieve in school. However, whether students' self-regulation and motivation can be manipulated through educational interventions is less clearly documented. Unfortunately, disentangling the constructs of motivation and self-regulation has proven challenging. Underachievers may lack motivation, self-regulation skills, or a combination of the two traits. "Underachievers may not lack knowledge of strategies, but rather they may not understand that strategic behavior in conjunction with effort results in achievement" (Borkowski & Thorpe Thorpe , James Francis Known as "Jim." 1888-1953.
American athlete. An outstanding collegiate football player, he later played professional football and baseball. , 1994).
Valuing learning, and believing in the importance of the task increases students' achievement orientation and motivation. When students value the goals associated with school, they are more likely to be achievers. Intrinsic value Intrinsic Value
1. The value of a company or an asset based on an underlying perception of the value.
2. For call options, this is the difference between the underlying stock's price and the strike price. consists of the enjoyment that a task brings. The effect of valuing goals may be mediated me·di·ate
v. me·di·at·ed, me·di·at·ing, me·di·ates
1. To resolve or settle (differences) by working with all the conflicting parties: through self-regulatory strategies (Wigfield, 1994). "Achievement values include whether an individual likes a task, the importance the individual attaches to a task, and the potential usefulness of the task" (Wigfield & Karpathian, 1991, p. 236).
We compared the response patterns of high achieving students and low achieving student on the five factors of the School Attitude Assessment Survey -Revised (SAAS-R): attitudes toward school, attitudes toward teachers, goal-valuation, motivation, and general academic self-perceptions. The sample for this analysis consisted of 244 ninth through twelfth grade This article or section deals primarily with the United States and Canada and does not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
Please [ improve this article] or discuss the issue on the talk page. students from a mostly white, suburban high school in the Northeast. Participation in the study was voluntary. The sample for this study was drawn from a larger sample of 942 students, representing over 90% of the school, population. The SAAS-R employed a 7-point Likert-type agreement scale. Examples of questions from the SAAS-R include "I put a lot of effort into my schoolwork" (motivation/goal-valuation), "I am confident in my scholastic abilities" (academic self-perceptions), "My teachers make learning interesting" (attitudes towards teachers), "I am glad that I go to this school" (attitude toward school), and "I want to get good grades in school" (goal-valuation). Students also provided a self-reported GPA GPA
grade point average
Noun 1. GPA - a measure of a student's academic achievement at a college or university; calculated by dividing the total number of grade points received by the total number attempted . For this study, high achievers were defined as those who self-reported that they had at least a 3.75 GPA in high school. Low achievers reported a GPA below 2.5. We chose to categorize cat·e·go·rize
tr.v. cat·e·go·rized, cat·e·go·riz·ing, cat·e·go·riz·es
To put into a category or categories; classify.
cat low achievers as those who reported having a GPA at or below 2.5 because they represented the bottom 15% of the school in terms of GPA. Less than 5% of the school had GPAs at or below 2.0. There were 96 high achievers and 148 low achievers in the present study. The SAAS-R exhibited adequate evidence of reliability; Cronbach's alpha Cronbach's (alpha) has an important use as a measure of the reliability of a psychometric instrument. It was first named as alpha by Cronbach (1951), as he had intended to continue with further instruments. reliability coefficients the five subscales ranged from .82 to .94. An analysis of the data from the entire school population revealed significant differences among the grade levels. Goal valuation and attitudes toward school were lower for seniors than for freshman (p [is less than] .05). In addition, juniors attitudes towards school were lower than those of freshman. There were no significant differences by grade level for academic self-perceptions, attitudes towards teachers, or goal valuation.
A comparison of the low achievers and the high achievers as determined by self-reported GPA revealed that there were statistically significant differences between the high achievers and the low achievers on all five factors. (Hotelling's multivariate The use of multiple variables in a forecasting model. t-test, p [is less than] .001). We then conducted five univariate t-tests, using a Bonferroni adjustment to control the type I error rate. The t-tests of the five factors indicated that high achievers and low achievers exhibited statistically significantly different scale scores on each of the five factors (p [is less than] .001). In every case, high achievers had higher mean scores than low achievers. Furthermore, the mean differences of high achievers versus low achievers on all five factors exhibited large to very large effect sizes. Table 1 depicts the results of the univariate t-tests, including effect sizes for each of the factors.
For Tables 1,2, 3
see issue's website http://www.rapidintellect.com/AEQweb/sump.htm
A direct logistic regression with achievement status as the outcome and the five factors of the SAAS-R as the predictor variables Noun 1. predictor variable - a variable that can be used to predict the value of another variable (as in statistical regression)
variable quantity, variable - a quantity that can assume any of a set of values indicated good model fit (discrimination among the groups) on the basis of the five factors of the SAAS-R (Hosmer & Lemeshow, 2000; Menard, 1995). Table 2 presents the beta weights for the logistic regression analysis using all five factors. The five factor solution correctly classified over 85% of the students in the sample according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. their achievement status.
However, the results of the Wald test The Wald test is a statistical test, typically used to test whether an effect exists or not. In other words, it tests whether an independent variable has a statistically significant relationship with a dependent variable. revealed that academic self-perceptions (ASP) and motivation/self-regulation (MOT (OpenView Managed Object Toolkit) An OpenView toolkit from HP for developing network management applications based on CMIS. The toolkit contains library routines that handle the transmission and receipt of CMIS requests and responses. ) were the only significant independent variables in the model. Therefore, we conducted the logistic regression with only the two significant predictors. Both the Cox and Snell Snell , George 1903-1996.
American geneticist. He shared a 1980 Nobel Prize for discoveries concerning cell structure that enhanced understanding of the immunological system, resulting in higher success rates in organ transplantation. [R.sup.2] ([R.sup.2]=.46) and the Nagelkerke [R.sup.2] ([R.sup.2]=.63) indicated that the two factor model explained a large amount of variance within the data. Table 3 presents the beta weights for the logistic regression analysis for the two-factor model Two-factor model
Usually, Fischer Black's zero-beta version of the capital asset pricing model. It may also refer to another type of model whereby expected returns are generated by any two factors. .
As a result of this analysis, we found that after controlling for the effects of motivation/self-regulation, for each point gain in academic self-perception, a student was over 4 times more likely to be a high achiever. After controlling for the effects of academic self-perceptions, for each point gain in motivation/self-regulation, a student was over 2.7 times more likely to be a high achiever. The two-factor solution correctly classified almost 86% of the students in the sample according to their achievement status. Almost 89% of low achievers and over 81% of high achievers were correctly classified by the two-factor logistic regression model.
High achieving students exhibited more positive academic self-perceptions, motivation/self-regulation, goal valuation, attitudes toward school, and attitudes toward teachers than low achieving students. However, academic self-perceptions and motivation/self-regulation appear to be stronger predictors of academic achievement status than attitude toward school and attitude toward teachers. The goal valuation factor was highly correlated with motivation and self-regulation; therefore, although goal-valuation did not make a strong contribution to the logistic regression model, it is moderately correlated with self-reported GPA. The results of this study suggest that students who possess high self-motivation and self-regulation and who have positive academic self-perceptions are much more likely to be high achievers than students who possess lower academic self-perceptions and lower motivation/self-regulation. The results of this study were strictly correlational in nature; therefore, one cannot infer causality from these results. It remains to be seen whether increasing students' academic self-perceptions and motivation/ self-regulation will translate into achievement gains for low achieving students. Future research should explore whether programs that seek to increase these attributes in underachieving students can effectively reverse their underachievement. This study suffers from one large limitation: the use of self-reported GPA as a measure of academic achievement. Future research should compare the results of the SAAS-R to actual achievement data (such as GPA). In addition, researchers should investigate whether remediating any or all of these five factors can help increase student achievement.
In conclusion, this study sought to examine differences between high achieving and low achieving high school students' academic self-perceptions, attitudes toward school, attitudes toward teachers, motivation/self-regulation, and goal valuation. There were large differences between high achievers and low achievers on all five factors. However, two factors, academic self-perceptions and motivation/self-regulation, predicted students' achievement status as well as the five-factor model did. Using these two factors, we were able to classify students' achievement status correctly over 85% of the time. These results suggest that high achievers and low achievers differ in both their motivational patterns and their academic self-perceptions. Future research should continue to explore the relationships between these student characteristics and academic achievement. Specifically, researchers should investigate whether interventions that increase students' academic self-perceptions or their self-regulatory skills can also improve their school performance.
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D. Betsy McCoach, University of Connecticut The University of Connecticut is the State of Connecticut's land-grant university. It was founded in 1881 and serves more than 27,000 students on its six campuses, including more than 9,000 graduate students in multiple programs.
UConn's main campus is in Storrs, Connecticut. Del Siegle, University of Connecticut
D. Betsy McCoach is a doctoral student in gifted education Gifted education is a broad term for special practices, procedures and theories used in the education of children who have been identified as gifted or talented. Programs providing such education are sometimes called Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) or and school psychology. Del Siegle is an assistant professor in residence in Educational Psychology.