Grade twelve achievement and score on the American Council on Education psychological examination for college freshmen as predictors of freshmen achievement among type C students in the College of Arts and Science University of Saskatchewan
Walters, Lawrence Archibald
Of the perennial problems of education, probably none has proved more fascinating and perplexing than that of prognosis. At all levels of a child's educational career, parents and educators with varying criteria and degrees of expertness endeavor to discern those characteristics predictive of his future success. It is only in very recent times, however, that prognosis has been placed on a relatively objective basis, its methods and techniques evolving from the scientific approach to the solution of educational problems. With the increase in the number of students enrolling in our high schools has come a corresponding increase in enrolments at the college level. There has arisen the acute problem of guiding students in the selection of courses so as to take account of interest, ability, and as wide a variety of personal factors as possible. Important in such guidance is the early identification of those factors symptomatic of future success. At the college level, we find intelligence tests in very wide use as selectors in various situations some of which are described later in this study. However, as Toops points out, the intelligence tests are "primarily educational administrative devices for dealing with administrative and pedagogical problems or students rather than the criterion of intelligence of applicants for admission." 1 College entrance tests, which are made use of widely, vary greatly in nature from one institution to another. Such instruments usually consist of various combinations of standardized special and general achievement tests, intelligence or aptitude tests, and varying senior matriculation standing requirements. Other entrance criteria, less widely used, include recommendations of teachers, interest and personality ratings, health record, and the personal interview. However, there is a definite tendency for admission standards to be defined in terms of specific knowledge, skill and personal traits directly measurable at college. Tests of the College Entrance Examination Board, although not extensively used, represent an effort to secure some uniformity in the selection procedures of various universities. Entrance tests, in general, are becoming increasingly analytic with a view to their increased use as guidance devices. Indeed it is becoming generally recognized that prediction, like guidance, must be reasonably specific, as well as inclusive with respect to its underlying bases. As refinements of measurement are made, and as the measured factors become more clearly understood, this goal may be attainable. It seems certain that if major decisions in educational prediction or guidance are made entirely on the basis of a single variable, whether it be a measure of unitary intelligence or general past achievement, such decisions appear likely to result in unwarranted failure and frustration for many counselees. Although economic considerations alone might make selection inevitable at the University level, the primary purpose of selection and prognosis is that of guidance. These twin elements of a single process are a major step in student self-evaluation and self-direction. As Laycock and Hutcheon indicate, the effect of failure upon personality development is an important consideration underlying the selection process.2 Modern studies in prognosis at the college level are thus a manifestation of the guidance point of view in higher education, as well as an effort to reduce the pressures of accommodation resulting from an expanding student population. 1. H. A. Toops, "The Status of University Intelligence Tests", Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 17, 1926, pp. 23-36, 110-124. 2. R. Laycock and N. B. Hutcheon, "A Preliminary Investigation into the Problem of Measuring Engineering Aptitude", Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 30, 1939, p. 280.