How Family And Social Factors Affect Academic Achievement Education Essay

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As the dust settles with the announcement of results for the major standardized examinations such as the Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM), students all over the country will have to make an important, if not difficult, decision over their future. Secondary school leavers who aspire to gain entry into a college or university to further their studies need to select an institution of higher learning and a corresponding area of study. For some, the choice is easy, simple and straightforward; but for others, it can be a challenging process to conciliate personal, familial and social differences in terms of expectations, values and beliefs.

The Problem and Its Context

In Malaysia, arts education at the secondary level is limited to visual art. At the lower secondary level (Form 1 to 3), Art or Pendidikan Seni Visual is one of the six compulsory (wajib) subjects in Malaysian public high schools along with Geography, Physical Education, Health Education, Living Skills and Music. Art, however, do not form the core of the mandatory papers in the Lower Examination Evaluation (PMR) which consisted of Malay, English, Mathematics, Science, Geography, History, Living Skills and Islamic Studies (for Muslims). This means that while art is taught in schools at the lower secondary level, it is not featured in the Malaysian public examination for Form 3 students. Previously, students have to sit for a paper in Art as part of the Lower Certificate of Education (SRP) examination but it was dropped with the introduction of the Lower Examination Evaluation (PMR) in 1993.

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At the upper secondary level (Form 4 to 5), Art is relegated to an elective (elektif) subject with other 93 other subjects such as Literature in English, Information and Communication Technology, Basic Interior Design and Home Economics. Art is neither a core (teras), compulsory (wajib) nor additional (tambahan) subject for Form 4 and 5 students although they can sit for the elective paper in the Malaysian Certificate of Education examination (SPM). Since education in Malaysia is highly centralised and exam-oriented with standardised tests, the importance of the arts has been diminished considerably over the years. In many ways, the treatment of arts education in Malaysia reflected the general attitude of the government towards the subject which is similar to many other developing countries in Asia. As noted by Maira (2005):

"In many Asian societies, the links and continuities between art and learning, art and knowledge, art and social history, art and values, and art and wisdom were severed, initially by the impress of colonization in which a different construct for the arts was imposed…The impact of these influences on Asian art education has been that art in the classroom, if it exists at all, usually consists of activities such as drawing, painting and object-making…A further diminishment of the arts in education is occurring due to the emphasis on technology of modern society, which is squeezing the arts out of the school curriculum. In most Asian societies this is accentuated by the great thirst for education as a means of improving economic status. Educators, parents and children want schools to focus on subjects that will enable children admittance to colleges and eventually jobs and professions, the higher paying the better. Art is largely seen as having a low future economic value and is regarded as a distraction from the important technical or job-related subjects."

- Maira, 2005, p. 7-8

Set in this context, it is only natural to question the reasons why some students "chose" an education in arts. Was it borne out of aptitude, fascination or circumstance? A variety of factors could have an affect on a student's decision to pursue a tertiary education in the arts after secondary school. At the individual level, personal beliefs of ability, interest and importance of the subject are moderated by limitations such as family socioeconomic background, occupational prospects and college entrance requirements. However, there are few studies which examine the relationship between the motivation of art college majors and their academic achievement. How do the reasons for the choice of a major in the arts can have a significant effect on college performance? Is a student's achievement predicated by his or her task values and ability beliefs? Without understanding the complex interactions which formed the motivation for their original decision to pursue a study in the arts, it would be difficult to bring about positive changes towards a quality tertiary education experience in the arts.

Statement of Problem

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This study was designed to examine the interrelationship of selected variables to understand how individual, familial and social factors affect the choice of study and academic achievement of college students in four Diploma programs at a private institution of higher learning.

The research questions addressed in the present study are:

Are student and familial characteristics related to task values and beliefs in art?

Does art education at the secondary level affect task values and beliefs in art?

Is there are relationship between task values and beliefs in art with college major choice?

Is academic achievement of a student affected by past education in the arts, college major choice and task values and beliefs in art?

In summary, the research examined the correlates of task values and beliefs in art and investigated the relationship between past education in the arts, college major choice, task values and beliefs in art and the academic achievement of art students.

Objective of Study

General Objectives

The purpose of the study is to explore the factors which affect the task values and beliefs in art and the academic achievement of art students at tertiary level.

Specific Objectives (SO)

To determine the relationship between student's characteristics and task values and beliefs in art

To determine the relationship between familial characteristics and task values and beliefs in art

To determine the relationships between past education in the arts and task values and beliefs in art

To determine the relationships between task values and beliefs in art and college major choice

To determine the relationships between past education in the arts, college major choice, task values and beliefs in art and academic achievement

Hypothesis

SO1. To determine the relationship between student's characteristics (sex, age, birth order, and place of birth) and task values and beliefs in art (perceived efficacy/ self concept, perception of importance and interest)

There is no significant difference in perceived efficacy in the arts between male and female students. (Ho: µ1-µ2 = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant difference in perception of importance of the arts between male and female students. (Ho: µ1-µ2 = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant difference in interest in the arts between male and female students. (Ho: µ1-µ2 = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between perceived efficacy in the arts and age. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between perception of importance of the arts and age. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between interest in the arts and age. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

SO2. To determine the relationship between familial characteristics (father's and mother's age, father's and mother's level of education, number of siblings and family income level) and task values and beliefs in art (perceived efficacy/ self concept, perception of importance and interest)

There is no significant relationship between perceived efficacy in the arts and father's age. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between perception of importance of the arts and father's age. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between interest in the arts and father's age. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between perceived efficacy in the arts and mother's age. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between perception of importance of the arts and mother's age. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between interest in the arts and mother's age. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant difference in perceived efficacy in the arts among the students by their father's levels of education. (Ho: µ1 = µ2 = µ3 = µ4, α = 0.05)

There is no significant difference in perception of importance of the arts among the students by their father's levels of education. (Ho: µ1 = µ2 = µ3 = µ4, α = 0.05)

There is no significant difference in interest in the arts among the students by their father's levels of education. (Ho: µ1 = µ2 = µ3 = µ4, α = 0.05)

There is no significant difference in perceived efficacy in the arts among the students by their mother's levels of education. (Ho: µ1 = µ2 = µ3 = µ4, α = 0.05)

There is no significant difference in perception of importance of the arts among the students by their mother's levels of education. (Ho: µ1 = µ2 = µ3 = µ4, α = 0.05)

There is no significant difference in interest in the arts among the students by their mother's levels of education. (Ho: µ1 = µ2 = µ3 = µ4, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between perceived efficacy in the arts and the number of siblings. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

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There is no significant relationship between perception of importance of the arts and the number of siblings. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between interest in the arts and the number of siblings. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between perceived efficacy in the arts and family income level. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between perception of importance of the arts and family income level. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between interest in the arts and family income level. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

SO3. To determine the relationship between past education in the arts (art education at secondary level) and task values and beliefs in art (perceived efficacy/ self concept, perception of importance and interest)

There is no significant difference in perceived efficacy in the arts between students who has taken art at secondary level and those who did not. (Ho: µ1-µ2 = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant difference in perception of importance of the arts between students who has taken art at secondary level and those who did not. (Ho: µ1-µ2 = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant difference in interest in the arts between students who has taken art at secondary level and those who did not. (Ho: µ1-µ2 = 0, α = 0.05)

SO4. To determine the relationship between task values and beliefs in art (perceived efficacy/ self concept, perception of importance and interest) and college major choice (satisfaction with college experience and primary influence on college major)

There is no significant relationship between perceived efficacy in the arts and satisfaction with college experience. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between perception of importance of the arts and satisfaction with college experience. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between interest in the arts and satisfaction with college experience. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant difference in perceived efficacy in the arts between students who studied art out of their own choice and due to others. (Ho: µ1-µ2 = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant difference in perception of importance of the arts between students who studied art out of their own choice and due to others. (Ho: µ1-µ2 = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant difference in interest in the arts between students who studied art out of their own choice and due to others. (Ho: µ1-µ2 = 0, α = 0.05)

SO5. To determine the relationship between past education in the arts (art education at secondary level), college major choice (satisfaction with college experience and primary influence on college major), task values and beliefs in art (perceived efficacy/ self concept, perception of importance and interest) and academic achievement (cumulative grade point average)

There is no significant difference in academic achievement between students who has taken art at secondary level and those who did not. (Ho: µ1-µ2 = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between satisfaction with college experience and academic achievement. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between perceived efficacy in the arts and academic achievement. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between perception of importance of the arts and academic achievement. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

There is no significant relationship between interest in the arts and academic achievement. (Ho: ρ = 0, α = 0.05)

Assumption and Limitations

A limitation is a factor that may or will affect the study that is not under the control of the researcher (Mauch & Birch, 1998). In the case of self-administered questionnaires, the respondent's willingness, comprehension and ability to respond to the measurements affect the accuracy as well as reliability of the collected data.

For cost reasons and constraints of time, a cross-sectional design was adopted. The study was also limited in terms of size to the diploma students under the Art and Design Department at New Era College (NEC), Kajang. For accessibility purposes, it was the only institution of higher learning included in the study. Convenience sampling was deployed due to limited resources.

Research parameters were set with regards to the student population at NEC. Respondents are all Chinese and therefore the participation is limited to the orientations of a single ethnic descent rather than representative of the general population.

The study also neglects other possible mediators of academic achievement such as peer influence, support and learning behaviour. The present study did not concern itself with the actual artistic ability of the students, but rather their scholastic performance at college as affected by their perceived efficacy in, importance of and interest in the arts. Bearing in mind that the evaluation of academic achievement was based on semester examination results, it was difficult to extend the study findings to the actual abilities of the student in the arts.

In view of the various limitations in this study, the findings cannot be over-generalized. The study investigated the antecedents and the correlation of the variables. Relational studies help to identify an association between predictor and outcome, but causation requires experiments. In spite of all this shortcomings, the research induced a better understanding of the motivations which affect the academic achievement of art students. Results of the study can be utilized in identifying factors that influence the performance of college students. Descriptive statistics and content analysis of the data revealed important information and matched the results of previous research on similar topics.

Definition of Terms

Task Values and Ability Beliefs in Art

Conceptual : An individual's self-concept of ability refers to the extent to which a person believes he or she is skilled at a particular task and capable of performing well. Subjective task values also are theorized to affect achievement related choices. Intrinsic value refers to valuing a task because it is enjoyable and involving (Durik, Vida & Eccles, 2006)

Operational : 11-item with 7-point Likert scale response for perceived efficacy in, importance of and interest in the arts modified from Durik, Vida and Eccles, 2006.

College Major Choice

Conceptual : The selection of a college major for study at the tertiary level.

Operational : The college major choice in the arts is examined through past (decision to study art) and present (satisfaction with college experience) situation of study

Academic Achievement

Conceptual : The performance and accomplishments in a standardised test which has to do with learning and scholarly in nature (Reader's Digest Oxford Complete Word Finder, 1994).

Operational : Cumulative Grade Point Average tabulated from completed semester results.

LITERATURE REVIEW

The following section briefly discusses the literature on the research topic.

Tertiary Education in Art and Design

A student's selection and admission process into a tertiary institution (Figure 1) is affected by a variety of factors.

Figure 1: Stages of Student Admission Process

The choice of a college major can be one of the most important decisions a student can make (Porter & Umbach, 2006). Scholars have long understood the impact of academic majors (and departments) on students, and have concluded that they often produce quite different influences on the development of students' interests and abilities.

Researchers have developed an extensive body of literature on the predictors of college major choice, but it has been divided into several almost mutually exclusive areas. Many have emphasized academic ability, academic self-concept and demographic attributes of students and how these affect college major choice. Others have focused on the impact that social issues and family have on student major choice. Still others have examined the impact of student personality and political orientation on major choice. What researchers have failed to do is integrate the theories to provide a comprehensive examination of college major choice. It is important to study the motivations for a college major choice in art and the internal assessments of economic return as it is related to probability of non-completion. What sustains a tertiary education in the arts? Success in a college major can have a significant impact on actual academic performance and future career models.

College Major Choice Predispositions and Academic Achievement

Bandura coined the phrase "reciprocal determinism" in explanation of the interaction forces between internal and external factors of the social learning theory. Personal factors (beliefs, expectations, attitudes and knowledge), the environment (resources, consequences of actions and physical setting), and behaviour all influence and are influence by each other (Woolfolk, 1998). In extension, Bandura (1977) proposed the concept of self-efficacy as a mediator of performance and achievement. The social learning approach to motivation is marked by the value of goals and expectations to reach the desired goals.

Eccles and colleagues (Eccles, 1984; Wigfield & Eccles, 1992) have developed and validated a model of achievement behaviour that uses individuals' own beliefs and experiences concerning achievement tasks to predict subsequent achievement choices. Although the model explicates both intra- and interindividual processes that precede these decisions, the most proximal predictors of achievement choices in the model, and the ones we showcase in this article, are self concept of ability and subjective task values. In the model (Figure 2), ability beliefs predict achievement choices by way of expectations for future performance as well as through task valuation. Individuals are likely to engage in a wide range of activities if they find them more versus less intrinsically valuable. However, task valuation extends beyond task enjoyment. Individuals also engage in tasks that have utility value and attainment value. Tasks high in utility value are useful for achieving short- or long-term goals. High task performance on particular tasks can bring an individual closer to the person he or she wants to be. Within achievement domains, where competent performance is salient, utility value and attainment value can merge.

Figure 2: Eccles Model of Achievement Related Choices in Education and Career Decision Making (Eccles, 1985)

METHODOLOGY

The methodology section will explore in detail the research design, location, sample, data collection and measurement of variables in this study.

Research Design

For this quantitative study, a cross-sectional research design is adopted. The research was relational in nature and variables of the study were expressed through a survey questionnaire. The survey gathered data and information of the sample to form an accurate representation of achievement-related choices of selected diploma art students.

Location of Study

The study was conducted at a private institution of higher learning, namely the New Era College in Kajang, Selangor Darul Ehsan. The college was selected for convenience and accessibility reasons.

Sample

The survey collects data from a sample in the population of interest. A population means a complete set of subjects, values or events that have some common characteristic. A sample is a collection of subjects, values or events that represent a subgroup of a population (Peers, 1996). In this study, the sample consisted of students currently enrolled in four diploma programs under the Department of Art and Design, New Era College in 2007, which is:

Diploma of Interior Architecture

Diploma of Textile and Fashion Design

Diploma of Visual Art

Diploma of Visual Communication

Data Collection

The survey of the first, second and third year students in the Art and Design Department at New Era College was carried out through the use of a self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire was distributed to the group of students prior to their respective lectures where a brief introduction to the study and instructions to fill-in the questionnaire were provided. Students who consented to participate in the survey then proceeded to complete the questionnaire on their own time and returned the document to the Department office in two weeks' time.

Of a total of 203 diploma students in the first, second and third-year of their study, 159 questionnaires were returned with a response rate of 78.3%. However, only a total of 108 cases were used for the study due to incomplete information in the remaining questionnaires.

Measurement of Variables

The questionnaire contains the following major sections (variables [instrument source]):

Student characteristics (age, sex, birth order, place of birth)

Familial characteristics (parent(s) age and education, number of siblings and family income)

Past education in the arts (art education at secondary school level)

Task values and ability beliefs (perceived efficacy in, importance of and interest in the arts [11-item, modified from Durik, Vida & Eccles, 2006]

College major choice (satisfaction with college experience, primary influence on college major)

Academic achievement (cumulative grade point average)

Research Framework

Based on the research objectives and related literature review, a conceptual model for the study was constructed. The research framework highlighted the independent and dependent variables in the study as shown in Figure 3.

Data Analysis

Data collected through the survey was entered into and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) 14.0. Univariate and bivariate statistics such as the Pearson correlation, independent samples t-test, one-way ANOVA and Chi-square test of independence were performed.

Figure 3: Research Framework of the Study

RESULTS

This section presents result of the data analysis. The results are discussed in the sequence of each hypothesis as outlined earlier.

The findings are discussed according to the following sections.

I. Descriptive statistics

Bivariate statistics

Multivariate statistics

Descriptive Statistics

Table 1: Background of the Respondents (n = 108)

Variable

n

%

M

SD

Sex

Male

39

36.1

Female

69

63.9

Age

108

100.0

20.20

1.942

Birth Order

108

100.0

2.41

1.184

Place of Birth

City

61

56.5

Town

42

38.9

Village

5

4.6

Father's Age

108

100.0

52.42

5.807

Father's Education

None

9

8.3

Primary

36

33.3

Secondary

52

48.1

Tertiary

11

10.2

Mother's Age

108

100.0

48.48

5.285

Mother's Education

None

9

8.3

Primary

35

32.4

Secondary

58

53.7

Tertiary

6

5.6

Number of Siblings

108

100.0

2.86

1.357

Family Income

< RM1000

11

10.2

RM1001-RM2500

39

36.1

RM2501-RM4000

33

30.6

RM4001-RM5500

14

13.0

RM5501+

11

10.3

As shown in Table 1, a majority of the respondents are female (64%) with a mean age of 20 years (SD = 1.94, Mod = 19). The respondents are mostly from cities (57%) and they come from middle to low income groups. The average number of siblings is three (3), which is in line with the low fertility level of the Chinese Malaysians.

Table 2: Educational Characteristics of the Respondents (n = 108)

Variable

n

%

M

SD

Diploma Program

Interior Architecture

29

26.9

Textile & Fashion Design

12

11.1

Visual Art

6

5.6

Visual Communication

61

56.5

Years of Diploma Study

1st Year

44

40.7

2nd Year

51

47.2

3rd Year

13

12.0

Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA)

108

100.0

2.97

0.199

< 2.50

2

1.9

2.50 - 2.99

57

52.8

3.00 +

49

45.4

Satisfaction with College Experience

108

100.0

3.26

0.778

Very Dissatisfied

0

0.0

Dissatisfied

17

15.7

Normal

51

47.2

Satisfied

35

32.4

Very Satisfied

5

4.6

High School Art

Yes

70

64.8

No

38

35.2

Private Instruction

Yes

31

28.7

No

77

71.3

Most of the respondents are in their second (47%) or first (41%) year of diploma study at the college. About 57% of the respondents are students under the Diploma of Visual Communication (57%), followed by Interior Architecture (27%). Their average academic performance is fair with a CGPA of 2.97. The respondents have a moderate level of satisfaction of their college experience thus far (M = 3.26, SD = 0.778). Most of the students were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with their college experience (47%) thus far, but in general there are more respondents who are satisfied (32%) than dissatisfied (16%). A majority of the students (65%) have taken art as a subject in secondary school and some received private coaching (29%) regardless of whether they sat for the paper. As shown in Figure 4, 19% of the respondents took art as both a school subject and through private lessons.

Figure 4: Past Education in the Arts (n = 108)

The decision to pursue further education in the arts was mostly determined by the self (82%). The survey showed that family (10%) is the second most important influence in determining a college major in art. This is followed by the influence of friends and others.

Figure 5: Primary Influence on College Major in Art (n = 108)

When asked to rate the importance of 18 factors in their decision to study at New Era College in Kajang, availability of courses (M = 7.48, SD = 1.626) emerged with the highest score. This is followed by cost concerns (M = 7.12, SD = 1.817), safety issues (M = 7.08, SD = 2.001) and how well it prepares a student for job (M = 7.04, SD = 1.995).

Figure 6: Importance of Factors Affecting College Choice (n = 108)

Task values and ability beliefs were measured through an 11-item scale modified from Durik, Vida and Eccles (2006). Five items assessed the respondent's self-concept of ability and expectancies for art. Example items include "How good at art are you?" (1 = Not at all good; 7 = Very good). Students' perception of importance and utility of art were assessed through another three items such as "In general, how useful is what you learn in the arts?" (1 = Not at all useful; 7 = Very useful). Respondents' interest in art was rated by responding to three items. Examples are "Compared to most of your other activities, how much do you like art" (1 = A little; 7 = A lot) and "In general, do you find working on art assignments" (1 = Not at all interesting; 7 = Very interesting).

Reliability analysis showed that the instrument and its sub-scales are reliable with an overall Alpha of 0.878 (11-item, Table 3).

Table 3: Item Statistics and Corrected Item-Total Correlation (n = 108)

No.

Item

M

SD

CITC

Self Concept or Perceived Efficacy in Art (α = 0.803)

1

How good at art are you?

4.08

1.086

0.610

2

If you were to list all the students in your class from worst to best in art, where would you put yourself?

4.08

1.326

0.480

3

Compared to most of your other subjects, how good are you at art?

4.52

1.196

0.592

4

How well do you expect to do in art this year?

4.71

1.051

0.539

5

How good would you be at learning something new in art?

4.92

1.024

0.659

Perception of Importance of Art (α = 0.735)

6

In general, how useful is what you learn in art?

5.12

1.236

0.638

7

For me, being good at art is …

5.81

1.115

0.548

8

Compared to most of your other activities, how important is it to you to be good at art?

5.36

1.054

0.529

Interest in Art (α = 0.742)

9

Compared to most of your other activities, how much do you like art?

5.53

1.164

0.636

10

In general, do you find working on art assignments…

5.09

1.264

0.609

11

How much do you like doing art?

5.37

1.181

0.639

In general, the respondents have a modest self-concept or perceived efficacy in art (M = 4.46, SD = 0.854). Their perception of importance (M = 5.43, SD = 0.919) and interest (M = 5.33, SD = 0.978) in art is higher. Figure 7 shows the mean score for the respective sub-groups in the measurement of task values and ability beliefs in art of the respondents.

Figure 7: Mean of Task Values and Ability Beliefs in Art (n = 108)

The academic achievement of the respondents is moderate with an average cumulative grade point average of 2.97 (SD = 0.199). About 45% or 49 of the diploma students have a CGPA above 3.00. The distribution of the respondents' academic achievement is shown in the following histogram (Figure 8).

Figure 8: Histogram of the Respondents' Academic Achievement

Bivariate Statistics

To determine the relationship between student and familial characteristics d their task values and ability beliefs, Pearson's correlation test and independent samples t-test were performed. As shown in Table 4, a diploma student's task values and beliefs in art were significantly related to their father's level of education. The higher the father's level of education, the greater the respondent's self-concept, perception of importance and interest in art. There are several possible explanations for this positive correlation. It could be that fathers who are better educated have a more encouraging, constructive and liberal attitude towards the arts. Alternatively, the correlation can be attributed to the significant role of fathers in nurturing their children's task values and beliefs in art.

Table 4: Summary of Correlations and Differences between Antecedent

Variables and Task Values and Beliefs in Art (Self Concept,

Importance and Interest in Art)

Variable

Task Values and Beliefs in Art

Self Concept

Importance

Interest

r / t

p

r / t

p

r / t

p

Sex (1 = Male)

0.668

0.505

1.327

0.187

1.400

0.166

Age

-0.149

0.124

-0.198

0.040

-0.128

0.188

Birth Order

-0.055

0.570

-0.168

0.083

-0.098

0.311

Place of Birth (1 = City)

0.281

0.779

-0.175

0.862

0.556

0.579

Father's Age

-0.033

0.733

0.069

0.479

0.046

0.638

Father's Level of Education

0.258

0.007

0.256

0.007

0.283

0.003

Mother's Age

0.011

0.906

-0.011

0.911

0.071

0.466

Mother's Level of Education

-0.034

0.729

-0.114

0.239

-0.090

0.357

Number of Siblings

-0.110

0.256

-0.162

0.095

-0.193

0.040

Family Income

-0.125

0.196

-0.126

0.193

-0.142

0.142

The respondents' perception of importance of art is also inversely related to age. Younger students consider the arts to be more important than older students. Similarly, the fewer number of siblings they have, the greater their interest in art. Art is often a solitary activity and it is possible that having a large family cuts into the quiet time which is available for the pursuit of creative activities. Past literature has shown that there is an inverse relationship between the number of siblings and children's academic achievement (Downey, 1995).

F = 3.225, p = 0.026Figure 9a: Boxplot for Self Concept/ Perceived Ability in Art by Father's Education Level

F = 3.145, p = 0.028Figure 9b: Boxplot for Perception of Importance in Art by Father's Education Level

F = 3.452, p = 0.019Figure 9c: Boxplot for Interest in Art by Father's Education Level

academic achievement (Downey, 1995). Figure 9a, b and c showed the median in task values and ability beliefs of the respondents by their father's education level. Respondents whose fathers have had a tertiary education scored higher on task values and beliefs in art than the others.

Table 5: One-way Analysis of Variance for Task Values and Beliefs

(Self Concept, Importance and Interest) in Art by Father's

Level of Education.

Variable

Father's Level of Education

F

No formal education

(n = 9)

Primary education

(n = 36)

Secondary education

(n = 52)

Tertiary education

(n = 11)

M

SD

M

SD

M

SD

M

SD

Self Concept

3.73

0.812

4.43

0.796

4.53

0.866

4.84

0.753

3.225 *

Perception of Importance

5.15

1.292

5.11

0.966

5.63

0.736

5.73

0.964

3.145 *

Interest

4.96

1.136

5.00

1.014

5.53

0.859

5.76

0.956

3.452 *

* p < 0.05 ** p < 0.01

Respondents who have taken art as a subject at secondary school or private instruction recorded a higher mean score in task values and ability beliefs (Table 6). Independence samples t-test had shown that there is a significant difference in self concept, perception of importance and interest in art between the two groups.

Table 6: Group Differences CGPA, Task Values and Ability Beliefs between Respondents Who Did or Did Not Learn Art at Secondary Level

Variable

Past Education in the Arts

t

p

Yes (n = 80)

No (n = 28)

M

SD

M

SD

Self Concept

4.57

0.186

4.17

0.938

-2.134 *

0.035

Perception of Importance

5.54

0.804

5.11

0.973

-2.190 *

0.031

Interest

5.44

0.878

5.01

1.008

-2.030 *

0.045

CGPA

3.00

0.186

2.88

0.214

-2.722 **

0.008

* p < 0.05 ** p < 0.01

There is also a significant difference in CGPA between respondents who have taken art at secondary level (M = 3.00, SD = 0.186) and those who did not (M = 2.88, SD = 0.214), t = -2.722, p = 0.008. Evidently, prior exposure to art education improves the performance of students in the subject at diploma level.

As shown in Table 7, respondents who have sat for the subject in school and have had private lessons in art performed better than the others in college. The results also confirmed that past education in art affects the present task values and ability beliefs in art for college students, except for interest (F = 2.559, p = 0.059). This demonstrates the continuity of learning from secondary to tertiary level and necessitates greater attention to diploma students who have had no background education in the arts.

Table 7: One-way Analysis of Variance for Task Values and Beliefs

(Self Concept, Importance and Interest) in Art by Past Education in Art.

Variable

Art Education at Secondary Level

F

None

(n = 28)

Taken as a School Subject

(n = 49)

Taken as Private Lesson

(n = 10)

Taken as Both

(n = 21)

M

SD

M

SD

M

SD

M

SD

Self Concept

4.17

0.938

4.44

0.747

4.94

0.789

4.69

0.898

2.750 *

Perception of Importance

5.11

0.973

5.37

0.963

5.80

0.740

5.83

0.620

2.253 *

Interest

5.01

1.008

5.31

0.990

5.90

0.610

5.54

0.934

2.559

CGPA

2.88

0.214

2.99

0.190

2.97

0.124

3.03

0.203

2.734 *

* p < 0.05 ** p < 0.01

The box-and-whisker diagram in Figure 10a and 10b showed the distribution of the score for self concept and perception of importance in art by the different groups of respondents as according to their art education at secondary level. Figure 11 showed the median in the cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of the respondents by past exposure to art. The more art instruction they received at secondary level, the better their college academic performance.

F = 2.750, p = 0.046Figure 10a: Boxplot for Self Concept/ Perceived Ability in Art by Past Education in Art

F = 3.253, p = 0.025Figure 10b: Boxplot for Perception of Importance in Art by Past Education in Art

F = 2.734, p = 0.047

F = 2.750, p = 0.046Figure 11: Boxplot for CGPA by Past Education in Art

A majority of the respondents (82.4%) chose an education in the arts primarily out of their own conviction. Independent samples t-test was performed to identify significant group differences in task values and ability beliefs as well as academic performance among the college students. Results showed that there is significant difference in the perception of importance of and interest in art between students who chose an education in the arts on their own and those due to the influence of others (Table 8).

Table 8: Group Differences in CGPA, Task Values and Ability Beliefs between Respondents Who Chose an Education in the Arts on Their Own or Due to the Influence of Others

Variable

Primary Influence on College Major

t

p

Self (n = 89)

Others (n = 19)

M

SD

M

SD

Self Concept

4.48

0.867

4.39

0.804

-0.412

0.681

Perception of Importance

5.55

0.898

4.88

0.833

-2.986 **

0.004

Interest

5.44

0.966

4.81

0.877

-2.640 **

0.010

CGPA

2.98

0.198

2.91

0.197

-1.502

0.136

* p < 0.05 ** p < 0.01

It was hypothesized that a student's level of satisfaction with their college experience could be affected by their task values and ability beliefs in art. In part, this can be attributed to the different expectations a student has with regards to his or her tertiary art education. It also reflects on the general learning environment of the college for art and design.

Pearson's correlation tests showed that there is a positive relationship between self concept and interest in art and the level of satisfaction with college experience among the respondents. The greater the perceived ability and interest in art, the higher the level of satisfaction with college experience (Figure 12). Students with a greater confidence of their abilities generally find more satisfaction out of their art education which is more attuned to their personal liking and interests. Therefore, it is not surprising to find a significant relationship between the variables in this study.

Table 9: Correlation between Task Values and Ability Beliefs (Self Concept, Importance and Interest) in Art and Level of Satisfaction with College Experience.

Variable

Level of Satisfaction with College Experience

r

p

Self Concept

0.251 **

0.009

Perception of Importance

-0.005

0.962

Interest

0.206 *

0.033

CGPA

-0.010

0.921

* p < 0.05 ** p < 0.01

F = 2.750, p = 0.046Figure 12: Scatterplots of Self Concept and Interest in Art with Satisfaction with College Experience

The academic achievement of the diploma students were found to be positively correlated with their task values and ability beliefs in art. Students with higher self concept or perceived ability, perception of importance of and interest in art performed better at college (Table 10). There was, however, no significant relationship between the level of satisfaction with college experience and the academic achievement of art students. There was also no significant difference in academic performance between students who chose to pursue an education in the arts on their own and those who did so due to the influence of others.

Table 10: Correlation between Task Values and Ability Beliefs (Self Concept, Importance and Interest) in Art and College Major Choice (Satisfaction with College Experience and Primary Influence on College Major) and Academic Achievement.

Variable

Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA)

r / t

p

Self Concept

0.306 **

0.001

Perception of Importance

0.249 **

0.009

Interest

0.209 *

0.030

Satisfaction with College Experience

-0.010

0.921

Primary Influence on College Major

(1 = Self)

-1.502

0.136

* p < 0.05 ** p < 0.01

Multivariate Statistics

Based on the results from the bivariate analysis, selected variables were included in a model for multiple regression analysis to identify correlates of academic achievement among the college students. Table 11 shows the descriptive statistics and correlation matrix for the five (5) independent variables and the dependent variable.

Table 11: Means, Standard Deviations and Inter-correlations for Academic Achievement of College Students and Selected Predictor Variables

M

SD

1

2

3

4

5

Academic Achievement

2.97

0.199

-0.243**

0.256**

0.306**

0.249**

0.209*

Predictor Variable

1. Monthly Family Income

1.89

1.436

--

0.043

-0.125

-0.126

-0.142

2. Past Education in Art

0.74

0.440

--

0.203*

0.208*

0.193*

3. Self Concept

4.46

0.854

--

0.515**

0.617**

4. Perception of Importance

5.43

0.919

--

0.684**

5. Interest

5.33

0.978

--

* p < 0.05 ** p < 0.01

The five independent variables (monthly family income, past education in art, self concept, perception of importance and interest in art) accounted for 18.9% of the variance in CGPA of the respondents (F = 4.74, p = 0.001). Self concept or perceived ability in art is the most significant predictor of academic performance, followed by monthly family income and past education in art. The inverse relationship between family income and academic performance requires further investigation.

Table 12: Regression Analysis Summary for Variables Predicting Academic Achievement of Diploma Students

Variable

B

SEB

β

p

Constant

2.672

0.124

0.000

Monthly Family Income

-0.031

0.013

-0.221 *

0.016

Past Education in Art (1 = Yes)

0.095

0.042

0.211 *

0.024

Self Concept

0.053

0.027

0.226 *

0.054

Perception of Importance

0.025

0.027

0.117

0.349

Interest

-0.017

0.028

-0.082

0.544

Note: R2 = 0.189 (N = 108) * p < 0.05 ** p < 0.01

Summary

The results from the study showed that the college choice and decision of art students were affected by availability, cost and safety factors. Their task values and beliefs in art were significantly related to the father's level of education, age and number of siblings. Past education in the arts also contribute significantly to their self concept, perception of importance and interest in art as well as academic achievement. While level of satisfaction with college experience and primary influence on the decision to study art is related to task values and ability beliefs in the subject, it has little impact on the academic achievement of college students. Further analysis showed that three significant predictors (self concept or perceived ability in art, monthly family income and past education in art) explain about one-fifth of the cumulative grade point average among the art students.

CONCLUSION

The findings in this study showed that past education in art at secondary level is a strong predictor of student major choice in art. It too had a significant and positive impact on task values and beliefs in the subject as well as on the overall academic performance at tertiary level. Academic preparation, family influence and academic self-efficacy do matter a lot after taking into account personality. Applying the work of Bandura (1986,1997), a large body of literature points to self-efficacy as an important factor of student major choice. A student's choice of major is largely dependent on their belief that they will be successful in that major (Eccles, 1987).

Additionally, research in educational psychology has always been, first and foremost, to increase understanding and facilitate the improvement of education as a whole. Similarly, the present research aims to contribute to a better understanding of task values and ability beliefs as potential factors in determining academic achievement. Results from the research can help educators to make decisions in formulating effective intervention programs for to identify and assist underachieving students. Finally, this study confirms that it is important that we begin to broaden the frames we use to study the decision-making behaviours of diverse groups. The exploration of all the variable perspectives of understanding of the role of major college choice in art persistence.