The relationship among college science student achievement, engaged time, and personal characteristics

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Abstract

The relationships among college student science achievement, engaged time (observed and perceived), and personal characteristics of academic aptitude, reasoning ability, attitude toward science, and locus of control were investigated. Measures of personal characteristics were obtained from the subjects (N= 76) of a private, liberal arts junior college before observations began in the lecture classes for the quarter. Instruments used to measure personal characteristics were Scholastic Aptitude Test, Test of Logical Thinking, Test of Scientific Attitude, and Leven-son's Multidimensional View of Locus of Control. Based on a random selection procedure, student engaged time was observed at least ten times for 11 lectures. Achievement tests were constructed and validated for the biology classes. Data were analyzed by multiple regression procedures. The average achievement scores were positively related to academic aptitude and reasoning ability. Positive relationships were found between observed engaged time and academic aptitude and a negative relationship was found between observed engaged time and reasoning ability. Also a positive relationship was found between perceived engaged time and achievement. Pearson product-moment correlations between achievement and observed engaged time were significant as were the correlations between perceived engaged time and achievement. Measure of engaged time (observed and perceived) were also related to each other. The study's data indicate that students who were observed to be engaged were low in reasoning ability or high in academic aptitude. Those who perceived themselves as being engaged achieved more. College instructors who have knowledge of student academic aptitude and reasoning ability may use this knowledge to improve achievement.

Engaged time measures were significantly related to achievement, which indicates an instructor should endeavor to keep the students as engaged as possible to enhance achievement. Students who are engaged or pay attention or perceived they are engaged or paying attention during lecture classes achieve more than students who are observed as nonengaged or perceive themselves as nonengaged.

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