Use of Self-Actualization Scales as a Predictor of Academic Success with Underachievers
Mitchell, Christina W.
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The problem. Drake University placement officers do not know with any degree of certainty whether or not students selected for the Transitional Services Program can earn a first-semester 2.0 grade point average (CPA), which is a requirement for their admission to the University. The currently used ACT-prediction method (a computation provided by American College Testing Service using the student's high school CPA, ACT or SAT score, and a correction factor for the specific university) does not use scores of Time-Competence or Inner-Directedness scales from the Personal Orientation Inventory (POI) as indices of academic success. Yet, the implication is that a relationship exists between these variables and academic success or failure. The problem, then, was to determine whether POI scale pre-test scores could more accurately be used as predictors of first semester CPA's than is the ACT-prediction method. The second problem was to investigate the existence and degree of relationship between the POI major scale post-test scores, compared separately (a standardized measure of selfactualization) and actual CPA (evidence of behavior associated with self-actualization). Procedure. In the fall of 1973, 102 students were enrolled in the Transitional Services Program (TSP), a special-help program provided for students whose high school grades, ACT or SAT scores and/or class rank or a combination of these, prevents their admission to Drake. The TSP provides and requires participation in both a speed reading and study skills course, English I, other courses to total 10 hours or more, and regular individual counseling. At the end of the first semester, the student must have earned a 2.0 GPA to gain admission to the University. The sample consisted of 102 students currently enrolled in the TSP. Data were compiled from three sources--POI pre- and post-tests (given at the beginning and at the end of the semester), the ACT-predicted GPA (computed prior to the beginning of the semester), and the actual GPA (computed at the end of the semester). Pearson Product-Moment correlations were calculated for the total group and for each sex between: 1. ACT-predicted CPA and actual GPA. 2. Pre-test scores on each major- and sub-scale of the POI and actual GPA. 3. Post-test scores on each major scale of the POI and actual GPA. Comparison was then made between the magnitude of the error of prediction using POI scale pre-test scores, the ACT prediction method error of prediction, and the standard deviation of the actual GPA's to determine which was the smallest, and thus, was the best predictor. Findings. Compared to the ACT-method, neither of the POI major scales was a better predictor of first semester GPA. One correlation reached significance (p < .05) for males (Synergy, r=.26955) and one for females (Self-Regard, r= -.33354). For males, the ACT-predicted GPA had the higher correlation with actual GPA (r=.45170). For females, the subscale, Self-Regard, was a better predictor than was the ACT prediction method, which did not reach a significant level (r=.09415)· Conclusions. The Self-Regard sub-scale could be tried as a potentially better predictor for TSP females. The POI major scales are without value for predictive purposes in the TSP. No claim can be made that self-actualization as measured by the POI is related to GPA. No given set of variables can be used for prediction for both sexes. Though the ACT prediction method had the highest correlation with GPA, a high level of confidence in it as a predictor can not be justified. Thus a continued search using different variables is indicated.
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