Academic Achievement and School Ability: Implications to Guidance and Counseling Programs

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ABSTRACT

Guidance and counseling programs, being integral parts of educational systems, are designed to assist students develop and have thorough understanding of themselves. Assessments especially those that are multi-dimensional in nature are one of the major services offered by fully-functioning guidance and counseling programs. Multi-dimensional assessment services are important since they can lead to better admissions, placements, and counseling of students. Two commonly used measures in assessment services especially on incoming college freshmen are academic achievement and school ability. In this study, academic achievement refer to general weighted averages (GWAs) as reflected in high school report cards of college freshmen applicants and school ability refer to Otis-Lennon School Ability (OLSAT) percentile ranks. To prove the values in assessment services of GWAs and OLSAT percentile ranks, GWAs of 986 college freshmen applicants were correlated with their OLSAT percentile ranks. This was done to see if relationship exists between the two. GWA is the average of grades in all subjects taken, whether passed or failed and serves as an indicator of students' academic achievement in a given school year. On the other hand the concept of school ability that underlies OLSAT is that of general intellective ability. Specifically, it concentrates on assessing verbal-educational factor. The test measures the verbal-educational factor through a variety of tasks that call for the application of several processes to verbal, quantitative, and pictorial content. Statistical analyses showed that there were significant relationships between GWAs and OLSAT percentile ranks and were significant at the 0.01 levels.

Keywords: assessment, college freshmen applicants, general weighted averages, guidance and counseling programs, school ability

INTRODUCTION:

The world is rapidly changing and the "modern society expects everyone to be a high achiever" (Daulta, 2008, p. 75). However, "success in any meaningful endeavor is marked by a history of high expectations that provide the challenge and inspiration necessary to press the individual to his/her highest level of performance" (Ozturk & Debelak, 2005, p. 1) and no matter what the obstacles are, everyone is encouraged to succeed because those who succeed are valued and considered important by society members.

In schools, students are constantly expected to do their best because of the belief that success in school is correlated with success in life. With the world becoming more and more competitive, the quality of performance has become a primary factor (Nuthanap, 2007) and is not only important to students but also to those around him/her (Singh & Thukral, 2010). It is safe to assume though that students in order to succeed needs some form of guidance and counseling services. Providing the necessary guidance and counseling services in schools as may be given by guidance counselors and other allied professionals are important undertakings, but these undertakings will only be beneficial if information about students are sufficient.

Sources of information regarding students can be derived through the assessment services included in guidance and counseling programs. Assessment services are designed to "collect, analyze, use a variety of objective and subjective personal, psychological, and social data" (Lunenberg, 2010, p. 4) about students. In the college level, one potential source of valuable information about would-be college students from assessment services are their academic performance in high school as reflected in their General Weighted Averages (GWAs) and their School Ability as reflected in their Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT) percentile ranks if OLSAT is used as a standardized assessment.

"Counselors assist students in making appropriate choices of courses of study and in making transitions from one school level to another, one school to another, and from school to employment" (Lunenburg, 2010, p. …