INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES PREDICTING ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AT UNIVERSITY LEVEL
University of Zaragoza (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:The aim of this work was to study the relations between the individual differences in motivational strategies, defined by students’s tendency to generally pursue learning activities, and to maintain interest and implement selfdirected learning skills within a particular learning task (McCombs, 1984), and temperamental self-regulation, reflecting the efficiency of executive attention, including the ability to inhibit a dominant response, to activate a subdominant response, to plan, and to detect errors (Rothbart & Bates, 2006), in predicting university students’ academic achievement.
To reach that aim, a total of 121 students enrolled in the subject of Prevention of Learning Difficulties from the Degree in Early Childhood Education were invited to participate in this study. The final sample was composed of 60 students (all women), aged between 18-42 years old (M = 21.46; SD = 3.57).
In order to measure students’ motivational strategies the students completed the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale-S; UWES-S (Schaufeli et al., 2002) to inform about their academic engagement, and the Academic Situations Specific Perceived Self-efficacy Scale; EAPESA (Palenzuela 1983) to report their perceived self-efficacy in academic situations; whereas for collecting their individual differences in temperamental self-regulation, the Inhibitory control, Activation control, and Attentional focusing scales from the Adult Temperament Questionnaire; ATQ (Derryberry y Rothbart, 1988) were administered. In the case of academic achievement, three measures were considered: students’ academic competences in the specific subject, the supervised project mark, and the subject mark. To assess students’ academic competences in the specific subject a questionnaire ad hoc was developed, whereas the supervised project and subject marks were informed by their teacher.
Students’ temperamental self-regulatory skills were asked the beginning of the first semester 2021/22 (Time 1); academic engagement, perceived self-efficacy, academic competences were reported by the students at the beginning (Time 1), and at the end of the first semester (Time 2), and students’ marks were collected at Time 2. All questionnaires were completed online and collected during the first semester of the course 2021/22.
The results revealed that inhibitory skills, as the capacity to suppress inappropriate approach behavior, were a significant predictor for all the measures of academic achievement (students’ academic competences, supervised project and subject marks). Moreover, activation control was also found a significant predictor for students’ academic competences, whereas academic self-efficacy yielded significant results in predicting students’ subject mark. These findings highlight the relevance of taking into account the individual differences in temperamental self-regulation, especially inhibitory control skills, and academic self-efficacy to identify students who could benefit from prevention and early intervention programs.
Keywords: Academic achievement, temperament, self-regulation, self-efficacy, motivation, university.