Psychoeducational Correlates of Achievement for High School Seniors at a Private School: The Relationship among Locus of Control, Self-Esteem, Academic Achievement, Adn Academic Self-Esteem

By Smith, Carrie Leah; Sapp, Marty et al. | High School Journal, February-March 1998 | Go to article overview

Psychoeducational Correlates of Achievement for High School Seniors at a Private School: The Relationship among Locus of Control, Self-Esteem, Academic Achievement, Adn Academic Self-Esteem


Smith, Carrie Leah, Sapp, Marty, Farrell, Walter C., Jr., Johnson, James H., Jr., High School Journal


Introduction

For most Catholic high school seniors, the last year of school involves making decisions about future education and/or work. How a student views self and the environment around him or her may have significant consequences on academic achievement, goal setting, and persistence in working towards goals. Locus of control orientation, or the perception of being in control of environmental events or at the mercy of external forces, may influence feelings about self in relation to the environment. Coppersmith (1984) suggested that self-esteem could be considered as an initiator of human behavior. With all the research describing high school students, psychoeducational variables such as self-esteem, academic self-esteem, and locus of control are expected to be significantly correlated with achievement (Sapp, 1990a).

Locus of control is the extent to which a student perceives himself or herself to be in control of environmental events (internal locus of control orientation) or at the mercy of external forces (external locus of control orientation); as measured by the Rotter Internal/External Locus of Control Scale. Self-esteem is a feeling of acceptance or self-respect that a student has for himself or herself, as measured by the Coppersmith Self-Esteem Inventory. Academic self-esteem is a feeling about one's own academic performance and ability, as measured by the Brookover Self-Concept of Academic Ability Scale. Academic achievement is knowledge and skills developed in school subjects, and was measured by cumulative grade point average (GPA) recorded on a 4.0 scale.

Sapp, Farrell, and Durand (1995) and Farrell, Sapp, Johnson, and Pollard (1994) found that variables such as academic achievement, general self-esteem; academic self-esteem, and locus of control are related. Academic achievement, measured by cumulative grade point average, may be an indicator of high or low self-esteem. Research has shown that there is a strong positive relationship between academic self-esteem and academic achievement (Sapp, 1990b; Thompson, 1993). Results from Slavin (1987) showed that academic self-esteem and general self-esteem are correlated with academic performance.

Moreover, research has affirmed the relationship between general self-esteem and academic achievement. For example, self-esteem has been revealed to be the primary ingredient related to the self that determines the quality of one's school output. This conclusion was supported by Sears and Sherman (1964) who indicated that a child's self-esteem plays a major role in determining success in school and in interactions with the world. Bodwin and Bruck (1962) and Brookover, Thomas, and Patterson (1964) found that children with higher self-esteem have greater academic achievement than those with lower levels of self-esteem). Self-esteem has been found consistently to correlate positively with academic achievement (Baker, Beer, & Beer, 1991; Wylie, 1979).

Studies of adolescents have shown that a significant relationship exists between an internal locus of control orientation, or the view that success or failure is contingent on one's own behavior, and academic achievement (Findley & Cooper, 1983; Kopera-Frye, 1991). Kopera-Frye (1991) concluded that having a external locus of control, or the view that success or failure is independent of one's own behavior, is negatively related to school achievement. Forsyth and McMillan (1981) and Ramanaiah and Adam (1981), who have documented students' perceptions of the attribution of academic achievement, found that those who are successful in school attribute high grades to internal causes; in contrast, those who are not successful academically attribute low grades to external causes. Benson et al. (1994) found that when academic performance rose, locus of control was internal and self-esteem increased, suggesting that each was related to teach other. Downs and Rose (1991) also established an association between an external locus of control, low self-esteem, and poor academic achievement. …

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