Construction of scales for predicting academic success in a graduate school college of arts and sciences



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The purpose of this study was to construct a scale for predicting academic success at the graduate level in a College of Arts and Sciences in a large university of the South. Four predictive variables were used in developing the scale: (1) the Verbal Score of the Graduate Record Examination, Aptitude Test (GRE-AT), (2) the Quantitative Score of the GRE-AT, (3) the Total Score of the GRE-AT, and (4) the Previous Academic Average (PAA) of the student. The 226 subjects for this study were enrolled in the graduate school of this university in the College of Arts and Sciences in the Fall of 1963 and 1964. They met the following criteria: (a) They were registered for graduate courses within their major department for at least one semester; (b) They had completed the GRE-AT; (c) The PAA was available. Of these 226 students, 112 comprised the original sample (1963) and 114 served as the validation group (1964). The most difficult procedure was that of defining success. A subject was considered successful, if he met any one, or more, of the following criteria: (1) Had completed requirements and had been awarded an advanced degree at the university; or (2) Had completed 30 semester hours or more with at least a 3.0 (4.0 = A) Graduate Grade Average (GGA); or, (3) Had completed 12 or more semester hours (12 to 29 hours) with a 3.5 or better GCA; or, (4) Had completed fewer than 12 semester hours with a 4.0 GGA. The first step in the construction of the predictive scale was that of preparing the 'Score Sheet.' Accordingly, scores on the predictive variables were tabulated into frequency distributions on a dichotomy of successful or unsuccessful performance. Class intervals for the frequency distributions on the predictor variables were made from high scores to low scores for each variable so as to give the optimum relative percentage of success. The second step was to compute the 'Total Predictive Scores' (TFS's) for all 112 students who comprised the original group. By means of the 'Score Sheet,' scores made by each student on the predictor variables were converted to points, which were then summed to obtain the 'Total Predictive Score' (TFS's) for each student. The third step was that of tabulating these 112 TPS's into a frequency distribution according to successful or unsuccessful performance, resulting in a 'Predictive Scale' from which probability of success could be determined for the sample group, and for students from a comparable group. This 'Predictive Scale' showed promise. The 'percentage successful' column of the scale ranged from 100% to 0% successful with a definite 'break' in the middle intervals, from 58% to 40%. The final step was that of validating the 'Predictive Scale.' The procedures in the validation of the scale were:(l) The selection of a validation group (hopefully comparable to the original group), (2) The computing of TPS's for each student for the 'Score Sheet,' (3) The prediction of success or lack of success for each of the 114 from the 'Predictive Scale,' (4) The comparison of predictions for each student with actual performance (according to the criteria of success), and (5) The determination of the degree of accuracy for these predictions on each student and for the group as a whole.



Prediction of scholastic success., Educational tests and measurements--Evaluation.