A Student's Creditability and Personal Development Are Essential Elements for High School Success

Article excerpt

The study examines change in relation to the personal development and creditability of students as they progress through a high school in Tennessee. It is suggested as a model for all high schools to insure that personal development and creditability of students occurs. Clearly, female students tend to do better than male ones, but for this group of 550 students both male and female student show excellent progress in such development. The PDT test promises to be an excellent means for use by high schools and colleges to insure progress is being made in the personal development of students.

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The American Psychiatric Association used 26 advisory committees in the development of DSM-III-R and DSM-IV (1994) where the Global Assessment Functioning Scale was determined to be critical in the health and success of individuals. It consists of a five point scale where a rating of 5 suggests excellent Global Functioning, a rating of 3 as average, and a rating of 1 as the absence of effective Global Functioning. The problem with the DSM-IV scale is that it fails to identify any of the critical elements involved in Global Functioning or Personal Development; so that specific change can be planned for. From Third Force Psychology and Person-Centered Theory by Rogers (1945) and Maslow 1954) we learn that Global Functioning is based on the Personal Development of the individual, and introduces some of the basic critical elements involved in Personal Development.

Assessing Personal Development

The Personal Development Test (PDT) (Cassel & Chow, 2002) is designed to measure the Personal Development of youth and adults. It is comprised of 200 true/false type items with 25 in each of the 8 part scores. It is based on Dewey's definition of a democracy--the interdependence of independent individuals. The first 4 part scores measure Personal Maturity for the Independence element in the Dewey definition, and the second 4 part scores measure Social Integration for the interdependnce one. Each one of the 8 part scores provides a meaningful understanding of the functioning basis of Personal Development.

I Personal Maturity--able to compete and succeed in an economic based society:

Self-efficacy--Exercise of personal control with high expectations and long staying power, and the development of long-term goals..

Coping Skills--possession of personal manipulative skills with a willingness and ability to develop others as needed.

Positive Assertiveness--begins with character education involving use and abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs; and including action towards goal-attainment.

Locus of Control--belief that success is not luck, but scientific decision making.

II Social Integration--ability to get along with all kinds of people--different races and religions:

Conformity--accept and become an integral part of community and nation with a "team' like spirit.

Sympathy--ability to empathize and put self in place of the other person, and feel their pain and pleasures.

Self-esteem--sensing that peers have a lofty and important image of you as a team member.

Caring--Whatever happens to one person or animal anywhere in the world is important to all persons everywhere.

Confluence Score

The Confluence Score is comprised of 42 items; which includes 21 pairs of the 200 PDT items, and deals squarely with agreement and harmony of one's responses--creditability. About half of those 21 pairs are direct opposites, and the other half lack agreement with the other item in the pair in varying degrees. If the individual, for example, scores one of those items in the pair "true," and fails to score the second item in the pair "false," there is a lack of congruence--agreement or harmony. In this sense, then, the "Confluence Score" is a measure of "creditability" of the person taking the test; as well as the test results. …