Unraveling the Differential Effects of Motivational and Skills, Social, and Self-Management Measures From Traditional Predictors of College Outcomes

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Abstract

The authors report on a large-scale study examining the effects of self-reported psychosocial factors on 1st-year college outcomes. Using a sample of 14,464 students from 48 institutions, the authors constructed hierarchical regression models to measure the predictive validity of the Student Readiness Inventory, a measure of psychosocial factors. Controlling for institutional effects and traditional predictors, the authors tested the effects of motivational and skill, social, and self-management measures on academic performance and retention. Academic Discipline was incrementally predictive of academic performance (grade-point average) and retention. Social Activity and Emotional Control also helped predict academic performance and retention, whereas Commitment to College and Social Connection offered incremental prediction of retention. This study elaborates recent meta-analytic findings (S. Robbins et al., 2004), demonstrating the salience of a subset of motivational, social, and self-management factors. Future research questions include how measures of psychosocial factors can be used to aid students, the salience of these measures over the entire college experience and for predicting job performance, and the need for testing theoretical models for explaining postsecondary educational outcomes incorporating traditional, motivational, self-management, and social engagement factors.

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