The effect of selected student characteristics upon success in a professional preparation program : phase I of a longitudinal study to isolate predictors of successful professional practice



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The purpose of this research study was to determine the extent to which selected student characteristics normally associated with academic success contributed to the success of students in a professional preparation program. Intellective and nonintellective characteristics were identified in the literature as contributors to success. These characteristics, used to define the academic and psychological space for each student, were classified into three domains. The study sought to determine if these domains, Academic Background, Attitude Toward the Profession and Aptitude were independent constructs. Further, the study attempted to determine if the measures of each of these domains were reliably valid predictors of student success. A series of tests were selected, based upon their predictive validity in measuring the intellective and nonintellective characteristics within each of the three domains. These tests were given to a sample of 107 junior students enrolled in the first semester of the Coordinated Undergraduate Program in Dietetics. Ten programs across the United States participated in the study. Factor analytic procedures initially were used to verify that the tests selected measured the constructs contained within the intellective and nonintellective characteristics with which the study dealt. Subsequently, factor analytic procedures were applied to test the assumption of independence of the domains of intellective and nonintellective characteristics. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine the extent to which success in professional dietetics programs could be predicted using the factors which comprise the domains defined. Finally, canonical correlation was applied to determine the maximum correlation of the dependent and independent variables. [...]