A descriptive and comparative study of a group of college freshmen enrolled in a special course : "Effective reading and study habits"



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The purpose of this study was two-fold: (1) To describe a group of college students enrolled in a special course, "Effective Reading and Study" and (2) to compare this group on a number of variables with the freshmen students of which they were a sample. Answers were sought to such questions as: What are the main characteristics of the students who completed this special course? What are their reading habits? What is the distribution of grades in the course? How many work at jobs? What are their majors? Are they enrolled one year later? How do they compare with the freshmen group of which they are a sample? The subjects were 269 freshmen, 158 males and 111 females, who took the course for credit, who completed all requirements of the course and who were assigned a final letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F. All subjects had taken the Scholastic Aptitude Test and had completed a personal data inventory which supplied general, educational, and counseling information. Descriptive measures employed in the study included data obtained from the personal data inventories, grade point averages at the end of the first semester in college, the grade earned in "Effective Reading and Study," the choice of major field of study, the number still enrolled in the University of Houston in the Fall Semester, 1965, Scholastic Aptitude Test scores of the College Entrance Examination Board, and ranks in high school graduating classes. Tabulations were made of all these data. Performances of male and female subjects on the SAT-V, SAT-M and SAT-Total were compared. Female subjects earned higher mean scores on both the SAT-V and the SAT-Total than male subjects, while males scored higher than females on the SAT-M. The t test was used to estimate the reliability of obtained differences between mean scores of the two sexes. Differences between means on all three distributions were found to be significant at the .05 level of confidence or lower. These differences were in favor of males on the SAT-M, and of females on the SAT-V, and SAT-Total. The subjects were again compared with respect to ranks in their high school graduating classes. Mean scores which equaled or exceeded the national norms for the SAT were those of females on the SAT-V who ranked in the lowest quarter, and those of males on the SAT-M who ranked in the top quarter of their high school graduating classes. All other mean scores were below the national average. A comparison of high school ranks showed higher percentages of the entering freshmen group than of the sample group ranking in the top quarter of their high school classes. Comparisons of performances on the SAT and of high school ranks between the subjects and the entering freshmen group showed that differences in percentages scoring above 1,000 on the SAT-Total and ranking in the top quarter of their high school classes were all in favor of the entering freshmen group. More of the entering freshmen group scored above the national mean of 500 on both the SAT-V and the SAT-M. Differences between means of the two groups for both distributions of scores were found, by application of the t test, to be significant at the .0005 level of confidence. Only 5 times in 10,000 would each of these differences not be a true difference.



College freshmen, College student orientation