Prediction of GPA with Educational Psychology Grades and Critical Thinking Scores

Article excerpt

Research studies have shown significant relationships between different measures and academic achievement (GPA). For instance, Steward and Al-abdula (1989) reported relationships between critical thinking and academic performances for 237 undergraduates. These researchers indicated that, in general, students who scored high on the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, WGCTA (Watson & Glaser, 1980a) also had high GPAs. These researchers indicated that not all aspects of the critical thinking abilities (of the WGCTA) contributed equally to the overall academic performance. They reported that Inference, Interpretation, and Evaluation of Arguments (WGCTA subscales) correlated significantly with the GPA, but that only Inference and Evaluation of Arguments scores contributed (9.2%) to the variance within the GPAs.

In a study of three groups (25 subjects in Elementary Education, 25 subjects in Special Education, and 10 subjects in Speech Correction) of preservice professionals, Holmgren and Coven (1984) reported relationships among six subtests of the Survey of Inter-Personal Values (SIV), total WGCTA score, grade-point averages (GPA), English Proficiency test scores (EP), and age of the participants. To determine the best predictors of EP and GPA, they computed stepwise multiple regression equations and found that the total WGCTA scores and age were the best predictors of the students' EP and GPA. However, when only one criterion was studied at a time, the multiple correlation coefficient between GPA and WGCTA was R = .50. Thus (R- = .25), 25% of the total variance in GPA was accounted for by the total WGCTA scores. The correlation coefficient between GPA and EP was R = .46, (R- = .21) accounting for 21% of the variance.

The above studies (Steward & Al-abdulla, 1989; Holmgren & Coven, 1984) provided some information of how critical thinking scores are related and predict GPA. Students' overall GPA is an average of their course grades. One course, Educational Psychology, is required for teacher certification in most teacher training institutions of higher learning. The content covered in Educational Psychology provides the foundation in using sound strategies and constructive thinking skills, which are useful in the teaching career.

The purpose of the present study was to determine the relationships between the Educational Psychology four test scores, course grades, and the critical thinking (using WGCTA subscales and total) scores with students' GPA. In addition, the aim was to determine which of these variables were the best predictors of GPA for students majoring in Education.

METHOD

Subjects

There were 114 students (majoring in Education), enrolled in the Educational Psychology course at a southwestern state university, who participated in the study. Generally, the course is taken in the students' junior or senior year. However, because Educational Psychology is also a required course in teacher certification, graduate students who wanted to teach were required to take the course. In this study, there were 24 (21.1%) were men and 90 (78.9%) women, 14 (12.3%) were sophomores, 69 (60.5%) juniors, 11 (9.6%) seniors, 17 (14.9%) graduates, and three students did not report their college status. Their ages ranged from 19 years to 54 years (M = 27.80, SD = 8.12).

Instruments

Numerous studies have used the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, WGCTA (Watson & Glaser, 1980a) in determining critical thinking at the post secondary level (McMillan, 1987). It was chosen in the present study to determine students' critical thinking abilities. The WGCTA is a paper and pencil questionnaire that has 80 items from which five subscales (16 items each) are derived (Watson & Glaser, 1980b). The Inference subscale discriminates among the degree of troth and falsity of inference drawn from the provided data. …