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Thesis (M.A.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1944. Department of Educational Psychology.


Copyright 1944, the author. Used by permission.


College students whose scholastic performance is markedly inferior to that which should be expected from pre-college tests, high school records, and other credentials are of considerable interest and concern to educators. Similarly, educators are interested in students whose achievement is much superior to that which would be predicted from pre-college tests and high school data. It is important to know why such variances between achievement and scholastic aptitude occur. Educators have, therefore, directed much attention to the role which is played by such factors as age, high school rank, outside employment, scholastic load, the place of residence, study habits, and certain personality traits.

Certain factors which have been considered to have more or less effect upon the achievement of college students will be examined in the present study for a particular student population. This will be done in an attempt to find reasons for the discrepancies between test scores and scholastic achievement.

The University of Nebraska Freshman class of 1942-43 was selected as the subjects in the present study. This particular class was chosen because it was the most recent one for whom grades for the entire year were available.

  1. Although the differences in the mean ages for Achievers and non-Achievers were not statistically significant, yet these differences seemed to be large enough to warrant the consideration of age as a factor of importance in scholastic achievement. In the main, a younger-than-average college male student was found to be a better-than-average Achiever.

  2. The findings of the present study justify the conclusion that not many students who rank in the lower two quarters of their high school class will be likely to succeed in college.

  3. The evidence found in the present study indicates that, of the students who come to college, those from small graduating classes in high school are more likely to be Achievers than those students from large graduating classes.

  4. The differences between the average number of hours carried by Achievers and Non-Achievers were large and statistically reliable.

  5. Achievers who were employed averaged fewer hours of work per week than Non-Achievers.

  6. Women of the present study, who were living in their homes, were more often Non-Achievers than women living in cooperative houses, dormitories, and private residences where they worked for board and room. The findings of the present study reveal that men living in private residence are less likely to be Achievers than those living in other places of residence.

  7. Achievers as a group rated high on traits of self-confidence, persistence, emotional stability, ambition and habits of study.

Advisor: Warren R. Baller