Adolescent academic underachievement in relation to a behavioral intervention program

Deborah A Stec, Marquette University

Abstract

Adolescent academic underachievement is a complex and multifaceted educational issue and concern. One of the responses to this perplexing problem is the creation and implementation of a school behavioral intervention program designed to improve the academic performance of secondary students. The factors of motivation, self-concept, and locus of control have been linked to increased levels of academic achievement and performance. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a secondary school behavioral intervention program designed to improve the academic performance and enhance the motivation, self-concept, and internal locus of control of underachieving students. Twenty-five students in the treatment program were comparably matched to 55 students in a control group (N = 80). The treatment group was compared to the control group in relation to academic performance as measured by grade point averages. The two groups were compared in terms of their motivation as measured by the Sweney et al. (1976) School Motivation Analysis Test. The factor of self-concept was also compared between groups as measured by the Henderson & Conrath (1991) CAP Self-Concept Assessment. Finally, the variable of locus of control was compared between the two groups as measured by the Rotter (1966) Internal-External Locus of Control Scale. Both the treatment group and the control group's pre-treatment assessments of motivation, self-concept, and locus of control were compared to their post-treatment assessments for these respective factors. The data obtained were analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures. Significant increases were found in the treatment group members' academic performance, self-concept, and internal locus of control group relative to the results of the control group and relative to their own pre-treatment levels. A significant increase was also found in the treatment group members' superego dimension of motivation relative to the results of the control group and relative to their own pre-treatment levels. This study suggests that participation in a behavioral intervention program may lead to increased academic performance and enhanced levels of self-concept, internal locus of control, and the superego dimension of motivation.

Recommended Citation

Deborah A Stec, "Adolescent academic underachievement in relation to a behavioral intervention program" (January 1, 1995). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI9600864.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI9600864

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