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Present study was conducted to find out the relationship between emotional intelligence and optimism with academic achievement in A level students. A sample of 50 students in which 25 girls and 25 boys, age ranged from 16 to 20 years were taken from 3 schools. They completed two questionnaire Life Orientation Test-Revised and Schutte Self Report Emotional Intelligence Test. And Academic Achievement was measured through grades of the students from their school record. Pearson correlation and t-test was applied on data that revealed 1) highly significant relationship between emotional intelligence, optimism and academic achievement. 2) There is no significant gender difference on the scales of Life Orientation Test-Revised and Schutte Self Report Emotional Intelligence Test. Findings showed that there is a positive relationship of emotional intelligence and optimism with academic achievement thus it is important for the parents and the teachers to make the children learn to be optimistic and learn to control and manage their emotions as well.
This research aims to find the relation of emotional intelligence and optimism with academic achievement among students of (A levels) higher secondary school. Academic achievement only did not depict that the student is emotionally intelligent or optimistic and can do well in all phases of life.
Traditionally an individuals smartness is measured in terms of his or her IQ, it is assumed that professionals and experts have high IQ, however IQ serves as only the index of numerical and analytical ability, it has little or no significance with success in professional and personal life because according to Goleman (1995) IQ alone is no more the measure for success; emotional intelligence, social intelligence, and luck also play a big role in a person's success, it is the Emotional Intelligence which turns the human being into a successful and prosperous because they knew their emotions and can identify other's as well and able to manipulate them or control them in better way and if the person is optimistic then his/her optimistic thinking and emotional intelligence will definitely escorts him/her to successful life, accordingly this research aspires to stumble on the relation of emotional intelligence and optimism with academic achievement.
Emotional intelligence (EI) can be defined as; it is being able to monitor our own and others feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this to guide our thinking and actions (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). The attribute of EI is essentially comprised of four basic components; the ability to recognize and express emotion; being able to access and utilize emotions to enable thought; the ability to understand emotions; and to manage emotions. The emotionally intelligent person is skilled in four areas: identifying, using, understanding and regulating emotions (Salovey & Mayer, 1993). Then it can be said that success depends on several intelligences and on the control of emotions. John Mayer and Peter Salovey (1990) found that some people were better than others at things like identifying their own feelings, identifying the feelings of others, and solving problems involving emotional issues. According to them EI is a true form of intelligence which has not been scientifically measured. They proposed that emotional intelligence deals with the emotions in a way that if someone is emotionally intelligent he/she will be better able to manage his/her emotions and integrate them.
According to Cooper and Sawaf (1997), emotional intelligence is the ability to logically manage the emotions, understands and to applies these controlled and managed emotions to connect and influence. These authors lay more emphasis on the application part of EI in organizations. In simple words emotional intelligence is using your emotions intelligently. The first step to this would be recognizing and understanding your emotions. For example, if your boss screams at you in office today because you came in late, coming home and screaming at your kids would not be the best thing to do. It will just keep the negative feeling floating from one person's head to another. An emotionally intelligent person in this situation would first recognize that he is angry because his boss yelled at him. Dr. Goleman (1999) asserts that awareness of our feelings also enables us to perceive the feelings of others accurately -to be empathetic, to feel with another person. In this case, understanding that your boss yelled because you came late, will make you realize that being on time will make things better. Thus, dealing with our emotions rationally and intelligently will make events better.
When psychologists began to write and think about intelligence, they focused on cognitive aspects, such as memory and problem-solving. (Cherniss, 2000). However, there were researchers who recognized early on that the non-cognitive aspects were also important. For instance, David Wechsler defined intelligence as "the aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with his environment" (Wechsler, 1958) as cited in (Cherniss, 2000). Wechsler referred to non-intellectiveËœ as well as intellectiveËœ by which he meant affective, personal, and social factors. Wechsler was not the only researcher who saw non-cognitive aspects of intelligence to be important for adaptation and success. Robert Thorndike as cited in (Cherniss, 2000), to take another example, was writing about social intelligenceËœ in the late thirties (Thorndike & Stein, 1937). Unfortunately, the work of these early pioneers was largely forgotten or overlooked until 1983 when Howard Gardner as cited in (Cherniss, 2000), began to write about multiple intelligence. Gardner (1983) proposed that intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences are as important as the type of intelligence typically measured by IQ.
Academic achievement is the ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information, effectively communicate with others, proficient in science, mathematics, computer/technical skills, foreign languages, as well as history, geography, and global awareness, capable of collaboratively working in culturally diverse settings, leaders who see projects through to completion, responsible decision makers who are self-motivated and active political participants and ethical individuals who are committed to their families, communities, and colleagues (Nidds & McGerald, 1996).
The relationship of emotional intelligence and academic achievement can be depicted from this study conducted by Elias, M. J., Gara, M., Schuyler, T., Brandon-Muller, L. R., & Sayette, M. A (1991) that the teaching emotional and social skills is very important at school, it can affect academic achievement positively not only during the year they are taught, but during the years that follow as well. Teaching these skills has a long-term effect on achievement. Emotional intelligence effects the academic achievement in positive ways and it remains with the individual by the end of life.
The emotions, feelings, and values are vital for a person's well being and achievement in life (Ediger, 1997). Quality emotions and feelings help students give their best potential in the classroom. The students who are aversive and think negatively cannot concentrate for a long time and have more difficulty in reaching their potential than others.
Abdullah, Maria., Chong., Elias, Habibah., Mahyuddin., Rahil., Uli., Jegak (2004) conducted research to examine students overall level of EQ. Research findings indicate that there is positive relationship between EQ and academic achievement. The student's positive relationship with academic achievement indicated that if the student performed better on his/her academics then he/she will be emotionally intelligent too. And the other finding of this study is the students have negative relationship of EQ with the negative affect (anger, frustration and anxiety) which showed that the students with high EQ have low negative affect or negative relationship with negative affect (anger, frustration and anxiety).
Natalio. E. A., Durán, L. R (2006) examined the relationships between perceived emotional intelligence (PEI), dispositional optimism/pessimism and psychological adjustment (perceived stress and life satisfaction. Findings confirmed that emotional clarity and mood repair are significant in predicting perceived stress and life satisfaction after the influence of optimism/pessimism were controlled. Thus this research predicted that adolescents with high perceptions of emotional abilities (in particular, high clarity and repair) generally show higher life satisfaction and lower perceived stress. Moreover, to some degree, this effect might be considered as independent from their own optimistic or pessimistic dispositions.
James, D. A., Parker, R. E., Creque, D. L., Barnhart, J. I., Harris, S. A., Majeski, L. M. (2004) found the relationship between emotional intelligence and academic achievement in high school Trent university Peterborough. Variables were compared in (highly successful students, moderately successful, and less successful based on grade-point-average for the year), academic success was strongly associated with several dimensions of emotional intelligence.
Considering that EI can be a potential determinant of achievement in working life, thus the study aims to determine if there is any significant difference in EI of the local and foreign students, if the emotional intelligence effect the academic achievement and it also differs in local and foreign students. This study reveals that people be evaluated on their own merit of emotional intelligence rather their academic success (James & Irene, 2003).
Empirical research has produced evidence suggesting that the ability to assess, regulate and utilize emotions (i.e. emotional intelligence) is important to the performance of workers, study reveals that the potential for enhanced emotional capabilities could be improved and there is strong relationship of emotional intelligence and academic achievement (Jaeger, 2003).
The Oxford Dictionary of English defines optimism as "hopefulness and confidence about the future or the success of something".
Optimism is a state where people believe that there are more chances of things going well and good, rather than their going bad. According to Seligman (1991) optimism is:
"Changing the destructive things you say to yourself when you experience the setbacks that life deals us, is the central skill of optimism".
Optimism can also be defined as the tendency to believe that one will generally experience good versus bad outcomes in life (Scheier & Carver, 1987). It is the mental state wherein people believe that things are more likely to go well for them than go badly, it is always expecting good for the future and having faith on ones ownself.
Seligman (1991) view's that optimism is a belief that the actions of individual matters. Optimism is an explanatory style, and individual with this style or optimistic individuals 1) see that the causes of good events in life are permanent (e.g., due to their abilities, their traits and their genes etc.) and bad events have their causes as temporarily, (2) they generalized good events instead of bad ones, (3) don't blame themselves for bad events instead see that good events are because of them (Gatz, 1998).
The main advantages of optimism may be found in increasing persistence and commitment during the phase of action toward a chosen goal, and in improving the ability to tolerate uncontrollable suffering.
References and further reading may be available for this article. To view references and further reading you must purchase Optimism is another emotional competence that leads to increased productivity. Optimistic individuals when have confidence on themselves and have good expectations and hope, it will increase the performance in better way, optimistic individuals can better deals with life stressors, when these stressors could not effect their good performance the productivity or achievement in any phase of life will increase. (Seligman, 1990).
On the whole, research on optimism indicates that a positive orientation toward life leads to managing difficult situations with less subjective stress and less negative impact on physical well-being. Optimists generally accept reality more readily and try to take active and constructive steps to solve their problems, whereas pessimists are more likely to engage in escape and tend to give up in their efforts to achieve goals (Scheier & Carver, 1992).
Another debate regarding optimism is that whether it can or cannot be learned. Several researches show that optimism is a way of thinking that can be learned. Seligman (1991), in his book, Learned Optimism told that optimism can be learned.
Researches support the theory that being optimistic has many benefits, and that being pessimistic has many costs, on a person's overall quality of life (McCambridge, Strang, Butler, Keaney, & Anderson, 2006).
According to another study, optimism leads to better academic performance as optimistic individuals can better deal with the stressors and thus they give better results (Whipple, & Gootman, 2001).
In one study conducted on optimism it is noted that optimism and thinking are positively related with problem solving, optimistic person tackle situation in a better way and find out better solution (Schwarz, & Tesser, 2001). In another study conducted by Merrell (2001) it is proved that an optimistic person can better cope with difficulties and is more flexible and durable in bad situations and hardships of life then a pessimistic person (Merrell, 2001). Research shows that optimist people can better deal with failure, firstly because they think of failure as something that can be changed and secondly they can manage stress and rise better from hardships (Whipple, & Gootman, 2001). Page and Wayne (2007) found that academic optimism is a school characteristic that predicts student achievement even controlling for socioeconomic status.
The study presented that positive psychology variables (hope, optimism, mindfulness) are stronger in high achieving students than in low achieving students. (Pajares, 2001).
Nonis, A. S. & Wright, D (2003) investigated that student performance has become an increasingly important topic in higher education, the study aimed to discover that to what extent student ability, achievement, striv1ing and situational optimism influence performance outcomes and to investigate the interactive effects of ability and achievement as well as situational optimism on student performance outcomes.
In educational institutions, success is measured by academic performance, or how well a student meets standards set out by local government and the institution itself. In academic achievement student's performance will be measured through grades of a year. Academic achievement is defined as "the quality and quantity of a student's work".
The study aims to measure the academic achievement in terms of emotional intelligence and optimism, for this purpose the sample will be taken from the higher Secondary School students of A levels. A levels is considered the alternative qualification in Pakistan. Most common alternative qualification is the 'General Certificate of Education' or GCE, where HSSC is replaced with 'Advanced Level' or A Level respectively. GCE AS/A Level are managed by British examination boards of 'Cambridge Assessment' or CIE of the company of 'University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate' or UCLES. Another British examination board that offers GCE AS/A Level is Edexcel of the company of Pearson PLC. However, CIE qualifications of GCE are much preferred option than those of Edexcel. These qualifications are coming to be more respected socially and in terms of job employment. In Pakistan the most of the students are in schools which are SCC or HSSC but for few years people who are stable financially preferred the alternative qualification system because there is a big difference in both school systems, from courses to extracurricular activities, even teaching style is different and most of the population of Pakistan belongs to the middle class so people cannot afford their children to be in O/A levels.
Academic success is important because it is strongly linked to the positive outcomes value for children. Research shows that adults with high levels of education are more likely to be employed, and to earn higher salaries (National Center for Education Statistics, 2001; U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1999).
Newhouse & Beegle (2005) evaluated the impact of school type on academic achievement of junior secondary school students in Indonesia. The findings are from Indonesia showed that private schools provide with children the best education and put more effort in the studies of children. In the present study sample is from the private (British school), emotional intelligence and optimism will be measured from the participants from these schools.
Research also shows that people who are academically successful are more stable in their employment; more likely to have health insurance; are less dependent on public assistance; are less likely to engage in criminal activity; are more active as citizens and charitable volunteers; and are healthier (National Alliance of Business, 1998).
Researchers have been challenged to go beyond socioeconomic status in the search for school level characteristics that make a difference in student achievement. The purpose of the study was to identify a new construct academic optimism that is having a positive attitude towards the academic achievement and towards education and then explain the student achievement while controlling socioeconomic status (Hoy et al, 2006).
A level students are mostly at the age of adolescent which is the peak time to decide their career and personality development is completing and they are going through lots of emotional disturbances because there is a lot of studies pressure which can lead to depression and low self-esteem and sometimes resulted in suicide so the study will help to understand that being positive and emotionally intelligent students will be booming in academic achievement. It will provide the level of optimism in A level students that can help teachers and parents to develop optimism in their adolescents because optimism is not always inborn, it can b erudite as well. It will reveal the relationship of optimism, emotional intelligence and academic achievement to facilitate the students opt their line of business prospects, and career selection. A levels students are taken as a sample because of their more or less same socio economic status.
The study hypothesized that:
There is a positive correlation between emotional intelligence and optimism with academic achievement.
The more higher the emotional intelligence and optimism the greater will be the academic achievement.
For the present study "Purposive sampling technique" was used for the sample selection, the sample consisted of the 45 girls and boys in equal number from the British schools (Cambridge board and Edexcel affiliated schools) of Rawalpindi. Data was collected from three schools including Froebel's, Saint Marry and Roots School System. All the students of A Levels from these schools were taken as the sample and the age of participants ranged from 16-20 years.
All the adolescents' age ranging from 16 - 22 years and students of A levels were the part of the study. New inductions or the students at least in school for more than one year were also included in the sample.
Adolescents with any disability (mental or physical) and below age 16 years or above 20 years were not included in the study.
The protocol consists of the following:
Data Demographic Sheet
Schutte Self Report Emotional Intelligence Test (Schutte, Malouff and Bhullar, 1998)
Life Orientation Test ( Scheier, Carver and Bridges, 1994)
Data Demographic Sheet
Demographic data was collected in terms of age, gender, school, main subject, favourite Subject, extracurricular activities, birth order and personal evaluation for academic achievement.
Schutte Self Report Emotional Intelligence Test (SSEIT) (Schutte, Malouff and Bhullar, 1998)
In the present study emotional intelligence was operationally defined in terms of scores on the Schutte Self Report Emotional Intelligence Test, where high scores indicate more characteristic of emotional intelligence and low scores indicate that the person is not much emotionally intelligent.
Schutte self report emotional intelligence scale is a 33 item self report measure of emotional intelligence developed by Nicola S. Schutte, John M. Malouff and Navjot Bhullar in 1998. Schutte self report emotional intelligence scale (SSEIT) is based on Salovey and Mayer's (1990) original model of emotional intelligence. This model comprised of four basic components; the ability to recognize and express emotion; being able to access and utilize emotions to enable thought; the ability to understand emotions; and to manage emotions.
The most widely used subscales derived from the 33 item Assessing Emotion Scale are those based on four factors. Which were described as: perception of emotion, managing emotions in the self. Social skills or managing other's emotions and d utilizing emotion. The items comprising the subscales based on these factors are: perception of emotion (items 5, 9, 15, 18, 19, 22, 25, 29, 32, 33), managing emotions in the self. Social skills or managing other's emotions (items 2, 3, 10, 12, 14, 21, 23, 28, 31) and utilizing emotion (items 6, 7, 8, 17, 20, 27). All items are included in one of these subscales.
Respondents rate themselves on the item using the five point scale. Respondents require average five minutes to complete the scale. Total scale score are calculated by reverse scoring item 5, 28 and 33, and then summing all items. Scores can range from 33 to 165, with higher scoring indicate more characteristic emotional intelligence.
The items for the original Assessing Emotions Scale were in English (Schutte et al, 1998) and most studies utilizing the scale have used the English language version of the scale. In the present study the original English language version was used.
Life Orientation Test (LOT) (Scheier, Carver and Bridges, 1994)
In the present study Life Orientation Test is operationally defined in terms of Life Orientation Test where high scores indicate that there is more optimism and low scores indicate the pessimism.
Life orientation test is the 10 item test developed by Michael F. Scheier, Charlse S. Carver and Michael W. Bridges in 1994. Respondents rate themselves on the item using the five point scale (1-5). Respondents require average five minutes to complete the scale. Total scale score are calculated by reverse scoring item 3, 7 and 9, and then summing all items. Scores can range from 10 to 50, with higher scoring indicate more optimism.
In the present study the original English language version was used.
Academic achievement was measured through the grades of the participants of their last semester; all the schools included in the study had the same grading system of Cambridge System and Edexcel. The division of grades according to the percentages are given below:
A* = Above 90%
A = 80 - 89%
B = 70 - 79%
All the participants fall between these grades. No participant was below 70%.
Data was collected from the British schools of Rawalpindi, three schools including Froebel's, Saint Marry and Roots School System. For the purpose of collecting data consent was taken from the school authorities and the purpose of the study was explained to them (school administration). After getting their approval, reference letters were taken for their schools. Consent from participants was taken after explaining them about the nature and purpose of study.
Pilot study was done in the school Froebel's to check the reliability of both scales Schutte self report emotional intelligence scale (r = .72) and life orientation test (r = .67). Six students were included in the pilot study.
After the pilot study the reliability obtained from questionnaires showed that the questionnaires are reliable then data collection process was started. Participants were taken from the British schools of Rawalpindi with the help of respected coordinator of A levels. Participants were given verbal instruction regarding questionnaires, and they were provided with two questionnaires (SSEIT, LOT-R and demographic sheet) and their questions about topic were answered. Average time taken by participants to fill the questionnaire was about 15 minutes. After the completion of the data collection the grades of the each participant of their last semester were taken from their school record with the permission of the school authorities. Data collection was completed in about 20 days.
After data collection, data was entered in Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 0.13) and analyzed the data i.e. frequencies, percentages, pearson correlation and t-test was applied on the data.
Study was conducted to find out the relationship between emotional intelligence and optimism with academic achievement. A sample of 50 A level students (both girls and boys=25) were selected from 3 schools of Rawalpindi, and protocols were administered on them. Then the data collected was analyzed in SPSS. For this purpose Pearson correlation was used. And also to see whether there is any Gender difference regarding variables of optimism and emotional intelligence in the data independent sample t-test was applied.
Frequency and Percentage of demographic variable. (N = 50)
Average (70- 79%)
Above Average (80-89%)
Exceptional (above 90%)
Table shows frequency and percentage of participants according to demographic variables of age, gender school name and grades.
Frequency and percentage of demographic variables in terms of main subject, personal evaluation of grades and extracurricular activities. (N = 50)
Out Door only
Table shows frequency and percentage of participants according to demographic variables of main subject, personal evaluation of grades and extracurricular activities.
Pearson Correlation between Life Orientation Test-Revised (LOT-R), Schutte Self Report Emotional Intelligence (SSEIT) and Academic Achievement.
Perception of emotion
Managing emotion in self
Perception of emotion
Managing emotion in self
Table shows person co-relation (two-tailed level) between optimism, emotional intelligence, academic achievement and sub scales of emotional intelligence (perception of emotion, managing emotion in self and utilizing emotion). Relationship between the optimism and academic achievement is significantly positive (r=.322*, pâ‰¤ .05). Relationship between optimism and emotional intelligence is significant and positive (r=.367**, pâ‰¤0.01). Relationship between emotional intelligence and academic achievement is also positive and significant (r=.421**, pâ‰¤0.01).
Mean, SD, and value of t-test related to optimism. (N=50)
Table shows that there is no significant difference in level of optimism in girls and boys. It showed that on average scores on life orientation scale (measuring optimism) have no considerable gender differences.
Mean, SD, and value of t-test related to emotional intelligence. (N=50)
Table shows that there is no significant difference in level of optimism in girls and boys. It showed that on average scores on Schutte Self Report Emotional Intelligence Test (emotional intelligence) have no considerable gender differences.
Cross tabulation of the academic achievement of the students according to the ranges of optimism (N=50).
Table shows that the students with A* grades 15(30%) were above average which indicates that the students are more optimistic than the students with B grade 1(2%) 0f average and (0%) of above average. A graders are only (8%) above average, which means more optimistic students perform well in academics.
Cross tabulation of the academic achievement of the students according to the ranges of emotional intelligence. (N=50).
Table shows that the students with A* grades 17(34%) were above average which indicates that the students are more emotionally intelligent than the students with B grade 1(2%) 0f average and (0%) of above average. A graders are only 6(12%) above average, which means more emotionally intelligent students perform well in academics.
The present study examined relationship of emotional intelligence and optimism with academic achievement in A level students. Main objectives of the study were to find out the relationship of emotional intelligence and optimism with academic achievement in A level students that whether the student achieving high grades is emotionally intelligent and optimistic.
To accomplish the objective fifty Students were selected from three different schools of Rawalpindi, both girls and boys. And they completed the protocols (Schutte Self Report Emotional Intelligence Test and Life Orientation Test-Revise).
Results indicate the relationship of emotional intelligence and optimism with academic achievement. Table demonstrates that emotional intelligence and optimism has a significant relationship with academic achievement. It means that if emotional intelligence and optimism is high in students it would result in better positive academic achievement. If the student is emotionally intelligent and optimistic then he or she will excel in his academics. Results showed the positive relationship of emotional intelligence and optimism with academic achievement that if the student is performing well in academics he/she is emotionally intelligent and optimistic.
Relationship is also been proved with the previous research, Abdullah et al (2004) found the positive relationship between EQ and academic achievement. Another study examined that the emotions, feelings, and values are vital for a person's well being and achievement in life, and if these emotions are used in positive manner then it will lead to success. (Ediger, 1997). Abisamra (2000) found no significant relationship between emotional intelligence and academic achievement, the study was conducted on eleventh graders. Another study showed the positive relationship among emotional intelligence and academic achievement that students who score high on emotional intelligence tend to have good academic performance as compared to those who score low on emotional intelligence scale (Farooq, 2003). There is significantly positive relationship between emotional intelligence and academic achievement (r=.421**, pâ‰¤0.01) which means the student doing well in his/her academics also scored high on emotional intelligence (see Table 3).Â
The relationship of optimism and academic achievement has also been proved with previous researches, optimism leads to better academic performance as optimistic individuals can better deal with the stressors and thus they give better results (Whipple, & Gootman, 2001). Another study conducted by Pajares (2001) findings indicates that constructs like optimism drawn from positive psychology can help explain academic motivation and achievement. The optimistic student can better cope with his/her the daily stressors of academic life and have the positive expectations for the future, results showed the significantly positive relationship between optimism and academic achievement (r=.322*, pâ‰¤0.05) (see Table 3).
Results on gender difference indicated no significant difference in girls and boys. It reveals that no gender differences regarding emotional intelligence and optimism.
T-test was applied to see the gender difference in data. It revealed the same results as concluded by the Heinonen (2006) and his colleagues; they also concluded that there is no gender difference on LOT-R measuring optimism. T-Test applied on the life orientation test-revised (measuring optimism) for gender difference showed that there is no significant difference in level of optimism in male and female (t=2.009, p=.987) (see Table 4).
T-Test was applied to see the gender difference in emotional intelligence and it was revealed that no significant difference in girls and boys (t=1.53, p=.582) (see Table 4).
Cross tabulation was applied to see the ranges and the levels of the both scales according to the academic achievement (grades) of the students, it was revealed that the students with grade A* are more optimistic than the grade B students, it proves the hypotheses that the more optimistic students achieve high grades or are academically good (see Table 6).
Cross tabulation of the emotional intelligence according to academic achievement also proves that the emotionally intelligent students performed well on academics (see Table 7).
On the bases of present study it is recommended that in future studies on adolescents sample size should be large and also adolescents from other schools (Urdu medium, Government schools etc) should be included. Emotional intelligence and optimism can be studied among patients with different diseases to see how these two qualities effect their recovery rate and how these two effect their life styles. These scales of emotional intelligence and optimism can be translated in Urdu and validated so can be applied on larger population in Pakistan.
The limitation of the present study is that the sample size (N=50) was smaller and the time was very limited to conduct a study that can be generalized to whole Pakistan's students.