Testing a Model of the Relationship of Demographic, Affective, and Fitness Variables to Academic Achievement among Non-Science Majors at an Independent University
Dutra, Andrew Martin
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The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship of specific attributes of college students to their academic achievement at an independent university in central Florida. Academic achievement was measured as the numeric score on the final exam in a survey-of-science course (EDS 1032) required for nonscience majors. Attribute sets included personological, affective, and fitness variables. A hypothesized diagram of the direct and indirect effects among these attributes relative to academic achievement was developed and tested using data collected Spring 2014 from 168 students in four sections of EDS 1032 at Florida Institute of Technology. Multiple regression results revealed that 19% of the variance in a students’ academic achievement was due to the influence of these three sets of research factors; this was found to be statistically significant. The results of mediation analyses also indicated that three variables had significant direct effects on academic achievement, namely gender, number of academic credits, and sports motivation. In addition, gender had a significant indirect effect on academic achievement via stress, and the number of academic credits had a significant indirect effect on academic achievement via sports motivation. These findings indicated that female students scored roughly six points higher than male students on this final exam. Also, gender’s influence on academic achievement was partially attributable to the student’s level of stress (e.g., male students with high levels of stress had lower grades on this final exam than female students with the same level of stress). In addition, it was found that students taking more academic credits were likely to score higher on this final exam than those students taking fewer credits. Further, as students’ level of sports amotivation increased, the strength of the relationship between the number of student academic credits and academic achievement decreased. These results support Self- Determination Theory and strengthen the standpoint of athletics and academics in regards to self-regulation.