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Date of Award

1979

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department

Graduate School

First Advisor

Augustine Garcia

First Committee Member

Robert R. Hopkins

Second Committee Member

Maria Hufana

Third Committee Member

Esekiel S. Ramirez

Fourth Committee Member

Randall E. Rockey

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this dissertation was to verify research information concerning perceived locus of control (PLC) on a population sample composed of 154 Filipino-American students in Stockton Unified School District. Perceived locus of control is a personality construct derived from Julian Rotter's social learning theory. Rotter posits that the probability of the occurrence of a particular behavior is determined, not only by the importance of the goal to the individual, but also by his expectancy that this goal will be achieved as a consequence of the behavior. PLC refers to an individual's perception of the causal relationship between his behavior and its consequences. An individual who perceives himself as largely in control of the results of his behavior is labeled Internal; one who perceives these results as largely determined by persons other than himself or by circumstances beyond his control, such as luck or chance, are labeled External. An Internal, then, ascribes responsibility for the events in his life to himself; an External ascribes such responsibility to forces outside himself.

Eight hypotheses were formulated for the study. The central hypothesis predicted PLC-achievement relationship (Hypothesis One). Three other major hypotheses investigated PLC interaction with demographic variables, gender, generational status, and socioeconomic level (SEL), in relationship to school achievement (Hypotheses Two, Three, and Four). Four minor hypotheses tested the same demographic variables in addition to age level as potential PLC correlates.

Procedures: The Children's Nowicki-Strickland I-E scale provided the data on which the PLC categories were based (Internal, Medium, and External). The school achievement indicators used were the results of the Metropolitan Achievement Tests administered in SUSD in Spring, 1978. The two socioeconomic classes were determined through the Index of Status Characteristics by Warner, Meeker, and Eels. The demographic data were derived from the parents' information sheets and from school records. The principal statistical procedure used was the Analysis of Variance. The Pearson Correlational procedure was also employed to test the significance of correlations in subpopulations of age, gender, generational status, and socioeconomic level.

Findings: The hypothesis of primary interest predicting PLC achievement relationship was substantially supported in both reading and math at the selected level of significance, a .05.

Of the three interaction hypotheses, only the PLC-SEL interaction achieved significance. Achievement was found to vary systematically with PLC among the middle class students with Internality being associated with higher achievement. On the other hand, no significant PLC-achievement relationship emerged for the lower class students. Neither gender nor generational status were shown to significantly .interact with PLC, thus the predicted PLC-achievement association obtained across both gender groups and the three generational levels.

SEL was revealed to be the most effective indicator of control orientation among the four variables considered, with the middle class group displaying higher Internal scores than their lower class peers. Moreover, the middle-class students evidenced distinctive progress toward Internality with each age level while the lower class children remained at a similar PLC level. Also validated in this study was the theoretical assumption that Internality develops with age. Gender and generational status were not found to be significantly related to PLC.

The overall picture, then, verifies the notion that PLC is importantly related to academic achievement, but it appears that this relationship was carried to significance only by the middle class children. Control orientation among the lower class group did not differentiate achievement significantly. The results also suggest that Internality does develop with age, but only under advantageous circumstances such as those to which the middle class children are exposed. The poorer children failed to show the progressive development of Internality which the middle-class children did.

Among the non-hypothesized findings were the following: (1) SEL and gender turned out to be powerful achievement pre-dieters besides PLC: and (2) the youngest age group evinced the reverse PLC-achievement relationship in which the Externals were the highest achievers and the Internals the lowest achievers.

Recommendations: The results of this study reaffirm previous research findings that Internality is linked with higher achievement and with higher SEL. Since Externality is believed to evolve from a history of non-validation of experience, classroom strategies should be success oriented, accentuating positive, rather than negative feedback. Furthermore, in view of the inability of Externals to recognize contingencies between behavior and its consequences, intervention strategies should emphasize cause-effect relationships. Finally, the teacher's own perceptions of what the lower class children can achieve and how they should achieve could have bearing on the differential development of control orientation and the behavioral concomitants of these expectations. As the central agent of reinforcement in the classroom, the teacher's role in developing the more advantageous control belief, i.e., Internal PLC, is crucial.

Pages

155

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