Personality Dispositions And Academic Achievement Among University Students

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Personality Dispositions And Academic Achievement Among University Students


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine personality dispositions and academic achievement among university students using University of Lagos as a case study. Specifically, the study was carried out to find out whether openness to experience influences the academic performance of undergraduate students, find out whether conscientiousness influences the academic performance of undergraduate students, find out whether extraversion influences the academic performance of undergraduate students, find out whether agreeableness influences the academic performance of undergraduate students, and find out whether neuroticism influences the academic performance of undergraduate students. The study employed the survey descriptive research design. The population size comprised of undergraduate in the department of Psychology in University of Lagos. In determining the sample size, the researcher conveniently selected 525 respondents and 500 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables, while the hypotheses were tested using Pearson Correlation statistical tool, SPSS v23. From the responses obtained and analyzed, the findings revealed that there is a significant positive relationship between personalitydispositions and undergraduate students’ academic achievement. The study thereby recommend that among the five factors of the personality traits, higher level of openness to experience, conscientiousness and lower level of neuroticism should be encouraged among students. Likewise, students with higher level neurotic tendencies should be assisted through psychotherapy interventions. To mention but a few.


Table of Content


Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organization of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Every individual is a unique being. No two individuals are exactly the same, not even identical twins. This uniqueness may be referred to as individual differences. However, despite the diversity in our individuality, people still share certain characteristics with others. Undergraduates students are not in any way exempted from these individual differences. Each undergraduate is unique and possesses some personality dispositions that generally distinguish him or her from every other undergraduate student in the tertiary institution. According to Makinde (2004), traits are distinguishable and relatively enduring way in which one man is different from another through personality variables. Personality dispositions or traits are definite, individualized characteristics that typify a person and make such a person different from every other person in the society.

According to Kagan et al (1990) in Osarenren (2002), personality is the total pattern of characteristic ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that constitutes the individual’s distinctive method of relating to the environment. This pattern of characteristics makes an individual to behave in a particular manner and these personal characteristics make the individual to be accepted or rejected in the society. Not only that, the personality of an individual undergraduate student of any institution makes or mars his/her academic success or failure in the school (Adeleke, 2005). The American Heritage Dictionary (1985), defines disposition as a habitual inclination or a personal tendency of an individual which makes the individual to act or behave in a peculiar way. Individual dispositions include: temperament, character-exhibitions, personality traits or specific natural phenomena which differentiate a person from others in the community or the school. Dispositions are a combination of qualities that identify a person from another. They are what make an individual unique and differently created or carved out. Dispositions are a prevailing frame of mind or spirit inherent in an individual which make what he/she is. The Collins English Dictionary (1990), defines disposition as a natural or acquired tendency, inclination or habit in a person. Therefore, personality disposition may be defined as the sum total of an individual’s unique ways of responding or reacting to certain issues to occurring in his/her immediate environment which can be school, home or society.

Undergraduates are from different families and backgrounds. Each individual student in the school environment has a very unique family upbringing that shapes his/her life pattern into what he/she is seen to be in the school setting. Even students born in the same home are unique and different from one another in many ways such as speech, attitudes or general behavioural pattern. Many things make human beings unique and different from others in the society. These characteristic traits range from their the human genotypes, blood groups, gender etc. Other physical dispositions or characteristics include such attitudes as: likes or dislikes, tastes or preferences, hobbies, level of intelligence, goals and aspirations, attitude to life issues and so on. These characteristic personal differences are the products of nature and nurture (Dickson, 2000).

Nature refers to traits that are genetically transferred from parents to their off springs. These are physical characteristics an of individual that are inherited from his/her parents. Such physical characteristics arer: the colour of the eyes, body physique, shape of nose, fingers, hair, structure of the brain, and so on. These inherited traits or dispositions are largely responsible for many of our behaviours, though there are some limitations (Nwankwo, 2003). Nurture refers to the environment in which an individual is brought up. This can be the home, the school or the societal environments in which the individual is born and bred. It includes the physical circumstances of our birth, varying influences from the society as a whole and more importantly, our family structures (Osarenren, 2002).
No doubt nature and nurture phenomena are crucial elements that helps an individual to achieve maximum success of dismal failure in any life endeavours, be it education/academic career, business career or any other engagement an individual faces in life. For instance, a student with positive personality traits or dispositions, attends to classes, copies notes, obeys the teacher, asks critical questions in the class, remains attentive while the lectures are going on and so on. Not only the active participation in the classroom activities, a student with good personality dispositions studies what has been taught and consults other education materials to internalize issues of academic relevance to him/her. These personality traits are learning-friendly and in any case, allow the student to record high academic success in examinations and class tests (Uzor, 2011).

In the other way round, healthy and unhealthy personality dispositions are a product of negative nature and nurture. Some of the traits or personal dispositions that are exhibited by undergraduate students at University of Lagos were inherited from their parents and the significant others in the society. Some of these traits resulted from the way the students were brought up by their parents and others who nurtured them as surrogate parents. Their upbringings and social interactions are very significant in shaping their personality dispositions or traits. The presence of negative personality dispositions can pose a great threat to students’ studies in a negative way. For instance, students with negative dispositions are, restive, truants, they absent themselves from the school without permission or any reason, they pay no attention to the lecture and above all, they do not read their books critically for maximum achievement in the examinations. These negative personality dispositions are not learning friendly and therefore, can mar the academic achievement of the students in question thereby making them to record dismal failures in the school (Anyanwu, 1999).

If a student does not read his books, does not attend the class regularly, does not listen attentively to the lectures, shows or displays negative traits of fighting others in the classroom, creating unfriendly atmosphere such that other students avoids moving or associating with him/her and exhibits other negative and anti-social dispositions, these anti-academic achievement traits will automatically lead the student poor socialization among his/her peers, and consequently, result into a resounding poor academic performance and miserable life pattern of the individual student. Hence, the need to identify the personality variables of students as factors that can influence their academic achievement.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The nature and nurture phenomena which are embedded in the personality of an individual, are crucial elements that can assist a student to achieve maximum success or dismal failure in any life endeavours, which include education/academic career, business career or any other engagement which an individual faces. Unhealthy personality dispositions therefore, are a product of negative nature and nurture. Some of the negative traits or personality dispositions that are exhibited by students are negative character-dispositions inherited from their parents and the significant others in the society. Some of these negative traits are as a result of the ways students were brought up by poor parental styles and the significant others who nurtured them as surrogate parents.
The presence of negative personality dispositions can pose a great threat to students’ studies and their social interactions in a negative way. For instance, students with negative dispositions are, restive, truants, they absent themselves from the school without permission or for any reason, they pay no attention to the lecture and above all, they do not read their books critically for maximum achievement in the examinations for academic progress. These negative personality dispositions are not learning friendly and therefore, can mar seriously the academic achievement of the students in question thereby making them to record dismal failures in their school activities which include academic achievements (Anyanwu, 1999).

For instance, if a student does not read his books, does not attend the class regularly, does not listen attentively to the lectures, shows or displays negative traits of fighting others in the classroom, creating unfriendly atmosphere such that other students avoids moving or associating with him/her, and exhibits other negative and anti-social dispositions in the classroom and the school. These anti-academic achievement traits will automatically lead the student to poor socialization among his/her peers, and consequently, result into a resounding poor academic performance and miserable life pattern of the student.

The above identified problems, subsequently gave rise to the examination of personality dispositions and undergraduate students’ academic achievement at the University of Lagos.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to examine the relationship that exists between personality dispositions and academic achievement of undergraduate students in University of Lagos. The specific objectives of the study covers the five indicators of personality dispositions, among which are;

  1. Find out whether openness to experience influences the academic performance of undergraduate students.
  2. Find out whether conscientiousness influences the academic performance of undergraduate students.
  3. Find out whether extraversion influences the academic performance of undergraduate students.
  4. Find out whether agreeableness influences the academic performance of undergraduate students.
  5. Find out whether neuroticism influences the academic performance of undergraduate students.

1.4.Research Questions

The following research questions were raised in this study for effective conduct:

  1. Does openness to experience influences the academic performance of undergraduate students?
  2. Does conscientiousness influences the academic performance of undergraduate students?
  3. Does extraversion influences the academic performance of undergraduate students?
  4. Does agreeableness influences the academic performance of undergraduate students?
  5. Does neuroticism influences the academic performance of undergraduate students?

1.5. Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated and tested in this study:

Ho: There is no significant relationship between personality dispositions and undergraduate students’ academic achievement.

Ha: There is a significant relationship between personality dispositions and undergraduate students’ academic achievement.


1.6. Significance of the Study

This study will be of great benefit to the followings; students, teachers, school authorities, parents, university authority, educational policy makers, school counsellors, religious leaders, the government and the society at large.

(1) The Students:

The findings and recommendations of this study will be of great benefit to the students who would be enlightened concerning the character they should put across in the society. This study will also afford the students, the opportunity to know the influence of personality dispositions on academic achievement of undergraduate students at University of Lagos. This study will also lead them to avoid those behaviours labelled as anti-personality dispositions among students in the school and the society. With the recommendations of the study, students would be able to identify the attributes of personality dispositions and their effects on their academic performances in school.

(2) Teachers:

Would be beneficiaries of this study, because, the study will afford them the golden opportunity of knowing how to detect students who exhibit negative dispositions and how to tackle them or remedy them. With the findings and recommendations of this study, teachers would be able to know those activities that would enable them to remedy the bad behaviours of the students who are under their care and how to help them achieve high academic performances in the school.

(3) The School Authorities:

With the recommendations of this study, the school authorities would be able to solve the problem of bad dispositions of students or adolescents in our tertiary institutions. This study also, will recommend to the school authorities all it takes to arrest the dwindling or negative behaviours of students in our schools and the society at large and how these negative behaviours affect the academic performance of undergraduate students.

(4) Government:

Government would be opportuned to gather relevant information concerning adolescents’ negative life styles in the society. It will be of great help to the government, if this study is completed and the recommendations upheld. This is because, it will afford the government the opportunity to know how to go about solving the society’s problems which is mostly on youths’ personality dispositions.

(5) The Parents:

Parents would also benefit from this study because, it will enable them to be able to know the characters of their students and wards and how to go about solving the perceived problems bothering on negative dispositions and the attendant poor academic performance of students. No doubt, the negative personal dispositions of the youths have been the major problems of the parents, the school and the society. The government is interested in solving the social and academic problems of youth in the society. Therefore, government will collaborate with parents and teachers to solve this problem of negative dispositions amongst the youths in our higher schools and homes.
(6) The general members of the larger society will be able to benefit from this study, because it will help them to know or identify the problems of negative dispositions amongst the youths and how to help in solving them.


1.7 Scope of the Study

This study examined the relation between personal dispositions and undergraduate students’ academic achievement at the University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria. The study will cover eight Faculties within the institution.

This was done by random selection of undergraduate students from each Faculty as participants to respond to the questionnaires.


1.9 Operational Definition of Terms

Operational terms were defined according to the way they were used in the study thus:

Personality:

Personality is the total pattern of characteristic ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that constitutes the individual’s distinctive method of relating to the environment

Dispositions:

Dispositions may be defined as the sum total of an individual’s unique ways of responding to his environment which can be natural or acquired.

Personality Traits:

Personality traits are definite characteristics that typify an individual and make such person different from every other person.

Nature:

Nature refers to traits that are genetically transferred from parents to their offspring. These are physical characteristics an individual inherit from his parents.

Nurture:

Nurture refers to the environment in which an individual is brought up. It includes the physical circumstances of our birth, varying influences from the society as a whole and more importantly our families

Academic Achievement:

Academic achievement refers to an individual’s performance in an academic activity. It is the result of the assessment of an individual’s ability in accomplishing a task related to his studies.


1.10 Organization of the Studies

The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions and hypothesis, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical review. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, and selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the examination of personality dispositions and academic achievement among university students using University of Lagos as a case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was on the examination of personality dispositions and academic achievement among university students using University of Lagos as a case study. The study is was specifically set to find out whether openness to experience influences the academic performance of undergraduate students, find out whether conscientiousness influences the academic performance of undergraduate students, find out whether extraversion influences the academic performance of undergraduate students, find out whether agreeableness influences the academic performance of undergraduate students, and find out whether neuroticism influences the academic performance of undergraduate students.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 500 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent areundergraduate in the department of Psychology in University of Lagos.


5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher made the following conclusion.

  1. Openness to experience influences the academic performance of undergraduate students.
  2. Conscientiousness influences the academic performance of undergraduate students.
  3. Extraversion influences the academic performance of undergraduate students.
  4. Agreeableness influences the academic performance of undergraduate students.
  5. Neuroticism influences the academic performance of undergraduate students.

5.4 Recommendation

The following recommendations were proffered with respect to the findings of the study;

  1. Among the five factors of the personality traits, higher level of openness to experience, conscientiousness and lower level of neuroticism should be encouraged among students. Likewise, students with higher level neurotic tendencies should be assisted through psychotherapy interventions.
  2. Males and females students differ in their personal values and they process information in different ways; their personality traits are different and so is their understanding. It is therefore recommended for curriculum planners to inculcate methods of identifying gender personality traits, in secondary schools‟ curriculum development, since males and females are prone to certain types of personality traits for their academic success.
  3. Students with introvert personality type are quite, shy and as a result teachers overlooked them in class participation (activities). That is since these learners keep quite when teachers ask question in class, when teachers teach and forward questions, and then the teachers consider them as they are low participating learners. Hence, it is suggested here that teachers should have to make them active participant and then explore their ability to make them complete whole person in their academic wise.
  4. Seminars or workshop should be arranged for students and teacher about personality traits and their impact on students’ academic achievement. Because teachers should not assume that students are a homogeneous group and may need different types of psychological techniques in order to perform well.

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