An analysis of selected personal characteristics of participants and nonparticipants in junior high school student activities



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Purpose. The purpose of this study was to determine if there were any significant measurable differences in selected affective personal characteristics of Texas junior high school students who participate in student activities and those students who remain inactive. Also, variances in measured affective characteristics among Anglo-American, Mexican-American, and Negro-American junior high school students were studied. A third comparison between affective characteristics variances was studied by two socioeconomic levels. Procedure. The data for the study were obtained by scores on the Gordon Personal Profile. Prospective schools from which the samples were selected had wide geographical distribution and variety in size. The Texas Public School Directory, 1969-70 listed the fourteen high schools in the study as receiving students from junior high schools housing grades seven, eight, and nine. The data, 703 samples, were collected early in the fall term of the 1970-1971 school year. Mean scores of personal characteristics were obtained on the four scales of the Gordon Personal Profile and were tested statistically in each of three data groups. Ascendancy, responsibility, emotional stability, and sociability were compared by data grouping according to subjects' participation, ethnic origin, and socioeconomic level. The 't' test was applied to the first and third groups, and the 'F' test to the second. Significance was tested at the .05 level. Findings. The following was found when participants were compared to nonparticipants in student activities. Significant differences existed in three of the four measured personal characteristic scales. The characteristics found to be significantly different were ascendancy, emotional stability, and sociability. No significant difference was found in the characteristic of responsibility; however, the ratio score approached significance. No significant differences were found in mean scores of any scales compared among Anglo-Americans, Mexican- Americans, and Negro-Americans. When students were asked to identify themselves from families with incomes below or above $3,600 per year, each of the four affective personal characteristics were significantly different between the two groups. Conclusions 1. Participants in junior high school student activities are more ascendant, more emotionally stable, and more sociable than nonparticipants. 2. There is no significant relation between development of individual responsibility and the decision to participate in student activities. 3. There is no significant difference in ascendancy, responsibility, emotional stability, or sociability among Anglo-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Negro-Americans whether or not they participate in student activities while in junior high school. 4. The development of ascendancy, responsibility, emotional stability, and sociability is higher among the higher socioeconomic level students than the lower after having completed junior high school. 5. Previous studies, showing participants in student activities to be better adjusted and more intellectual, agree generally with this study. 6. Application of the findings need to be followed by recommendations for further improvement in school curriculum and advancement in instructional techniques. Recommendations. 1. It is recommended that proponents of the student activity program would do well to reemphasize the value of these activities in development of affective personal characteristics. 2. A replication of this study is recommended with samples used from several states. Perhaps 2,000 to 3,000 subjects would add to the findings. Also, by matching two or more controlled groups over a three-year period of participation, by following a regular testing program, and by controlling the participation of the groups, other valid results might be obtained. 3. Since some students are uninterested in activities, surveys might be made of student interests in junior high schools allowing for the inclusion of a greater variety of activities, which would accommodate, to a larger degree, individual differences. 4. Consideration might be given by authorities in the student activity field for the role of socioeconomic factors in influencing judgments about the value of activity programs. 5. The Gordon Personal Inventory might be atilized along with the Profile for evaluating eight personality traits, which would broaden the scope of affective learning research. 6. Encouragement is given to junior high school administrators along with curriculum personnel and teachers to maintain broad student activities programs that are feasible to their schools. 7. It is recommended that exclusion of students from any activities to be eliminated. Total racial integration might be hastened if not already accomplished in the student activities programs. 8. Junior high schools needs to reduce costs of participation in student activities, as well as, minimize the pressures for elaborate exhibitions and winning contests. 9. In-service and preservice teacher education programs must reemphasize the importance of the affective dimension in the student's learning processes. 10. Teachers and prospective teachers must be trained and retrained in sponsoring student activities of all kinds, in planning curriculum with affective learning in mind, and in guiding affective learning through student activities. 11. Teacher-training institutions should help local educators plan and reformulate curriculum and instructional programs for affective learning in the public schools.



Student activities, Junior high school students