Nonintellective factors as predictors of academic performance of nontraditional adult college freshmen

Bernadette Whitley Penceal, Fordham University


This study examined the effectiveness of using Atkinson's model, Dynamics of Cumulative Achievement, in discerning the non-intellective factors, or personality factors, which were predictive of academic performance for non-traditional adult college freshman. A selection of personality and immediate environment variables, representing various constructs in the model, were administered to 215 non-traditional adult college freshman. Six personality factors: achievement, cognitive structure, dominance, endurance, understanding, and social recognition, from Douglas N. Jackson's Personality Research Form (PRF), were used to measure the personality point of motives in Atkinson's model. Julian B. Rotter's Internal-External Locus of Control Scale (I-E LOC) was used to measure the personality point of knowledge, beliefs and conception, and the personality point of ability was measured by the total reading and vocabulary score from the California Achievement Test (CAT). A Study Time Questionnaire (STQ) was used to determine the number of credit hours taken and the number of hours used for study. Information on sex, ethnicity, age, and financial aid was included. Also, information on the writing placement was made available. Successful students completed their first, second, and third semesters with at least a C average. Multiple regression analysis and stepwise discriminant analysis were used to analyze the data. Total grade point average, the dependent variable, was discretized into three levels: probate, average, and excel. Findings, based on 105 students who were still enrolled after three continuous semesters, partially supported the bases of the study. When variables from the PRF, the I-E LOC Scale, the CAT and the STQ were entered into the multiple regression equation, 18.11% of the variability of total grade point average was explained. Demographic variables of race, sex, and age increased the amount of explained variability to 26.52%, and the writing placement increased the amount of variability to 32.32%. The results of the stepwise multiple regression analysis and the stepwise discriminant analysis indicated that writing placement was the best indicator of total grade point average, explaining 19.62%. Recommendations were made for additional research using Atkinson's model, and for using writing placements of the non-traditional adult college freshman as an additional measure for the prediction of academic performance.

Subject Area

Adult education|Continuing education

Recommended Citation

Penceal, Bernadette Whitley, "Nonintellective factors as predictors of academic performance of nontraditional adult college freshmen" (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9007188.