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ERIC Number: EJ812146
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
ISSN: ISSN-0897-5264
Perceived Locus of Control and Academic Performance: Broadening the Construct's Applicability
Kirkpatrick, Michael A.; Stant, Kathryn; Downes, Shonta; Gaither, Leatah
Journal of College Student Development, v49 n5 p486-496 Sep-Oct 2008
Locus of control (LOC) is a dimensional construct representing the degree to which individuals perceive reinforcing events in their lives to be the result of their own actions (an "internal" LOC) or fate (an "external" LOC). LOC is meaningfully related to several variables associated with academic achievement. Specifically, high scoring students identify effort and ability as causes of their success, whereas those performing poorly are more likely to cite test difficulty and bad luck as causes. In this paper, the authors examined the relationship between LOC and student success by presenting students with timed opportunities to name specific internal or external events that would engender their individual success. First, the authors revisited the relationship between grades and academic performance by measuring LOC, grades in general psychology, and overall grade point average (GPA). Then, they devised a task that would require students to name the actual events (their own choices or external happenings) purported to exert causal control over academic outcomes. They hypothesized that skilled and discriminating students could easily identify behaviors in which they routinely engage, but would have difficulty making up answers that were not already in their repertoire. By timing the task, the authors aimed to diminish the influence of self-serving attributional bias. Finally, although not specifically spelled out in this paper, they integrated the LOC concept into a first-year psychology course to demonstrate its pedagogical value. In this manner, they have begun a process of integrating student development issues into the academic curriculum in a manner that might eventually facilitate academic success without compromising or detracting from curricular integrity. (Contains 1 table and 5 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A