ERIC Number: ED029559
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969
Reference Count: 0
A Student's Dilemma: Big Fish-Little Pond or Little Fish-Big Pond.
Werts, Charles E.; Watley, Donivan J.
The purpose of this study was to develop a framework for testing the validity of 2 conflicting theories of college effects. The "relative deprivation" theory suggests that college selectivity is a negative determiner of college grades that a student's academic ability determines both college grades and educational plans, and that poor grades lead to a devaluation of a student's ability self-concept and thus to a decrease in educational plans. The "environmental press" theory suggests that college selectivity upgrades a student's educational plans and that the "environmental press" at highly selective colleges motivates students to increase their educational plans, which in turn will approach the norm of the college they attend. Input data for a statistical model were collected on 127,125 entering freshmen at 248 4-year colleges and universities in the fall of 1961. Follow-up data were collected in the summer of 1962 as part of a larger study of intellectual and social environments of undergraduate institutions. A linear regression equation was used to test the conflicting propositions of the 2 theories. The results confirmed the prediction of the "relative deprivation" theory. A possible interpretation is that test scores serve to adjust high school grades for the academic ability differences between high schools in the same manner and degree as selectivity adjusts college grades for differences between colleges. (WM)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.; Ford Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: National Merit Scholarship Corp., Evanston, IL.