Abstract:
The study was undertaken to determine if the construct and vocabulary
of systems theory are related to academic performance such that
a) the understanding of either or both can predict grade-point average
for college students, and b) the explicit teaching of both construct
and vocabulary to minority students can improve their grade-point
average. Four hypotheses were developed for the research design.
Each is stated in its alternate form.
Ha₁.
For non-EOP students the predictive equation containing the
score of the Systems Test will explain a significantly higher
amount of variance than the equation not containing the
score.
Ha₂
For non-EOP students the predictive equation for the
Systems Test containing the number of university credit
hours completed will explain a significantly higher amount
of variance than the equation not containing the number of
unit hours completed.
Ha₃.
For EOP students the predictive equation containing the score
of the Systems Test will explain a significantly higher
amount of variance than the equation not containing the
score.
Ha₄. For EOP students participating in the treatment the academic
performance as measured by college grade-point average will
be significantly higher than the grade-point average for
EOP students not participating in the treatment.
A stratified random sample of 179 non-EOP students was drawn from
sections of Health 160-Personal Health and Political Science 101-Introduction
to Modern Politics. The 61 EOP freshmen, 1976-77, were randomly
selected for placement into three groups: Treatment, Group One;
Control, Group Two; and Control, Group Three. For the EOP Group One,
treatment consisted of a one-term course designed to make systems
theory and its vocabulary more explicit. The rationale and justification
for the treatment were products of three assumptions:
1. That the construct of systems theory is a heuristic device
implicitly or explicitly utilized by many instructors on
campus:
2. That EOP students are handicapped in academic performance
to the extent that both the construct and vocabulary of
systems theory are not a part of the linguistic structure
of minority cultures: and
3. That the theory itself and its vocabulary can be taught to
EOP students in a developmental, basic skills course such
that academic performance is positively affected. Findings
1. The predictive equation containing the score of the Systems
Test explained seven percent more variance than the equation
not containing the score. In addition, the correlation coefficient
of test /CPA and SAT /GPA were +.51 and +,46 respectively
indicating that the test has at least as strong a
relationship to GPA as the total SAT score, In addition,
the equation predicts better for students majoring in science-
oriented fields than for students in other majors.
2. An analysis of the relationship between number of hours
taken and a student's score on the Systems Test indicated
that students tend to acquire an understanding of systems
theory as they take course work in the university.
3. The grade-point averages of EOP students are composed of
grades received in EOP classes and non-EOP classes. The
EOP sample of this study was primarily freshmen and, therefore
had enrolled in a greater number of EOP courses than
non-EOP courses. Because the grades awarded in EOP courses
tend to be two-thirds of a point higher than non-EOP grades,
the dependent variable of the equation tended to be unreliable.
The analysis for both hypotheses three and four exhibited
meaningless and unreliable results. For this reason,
hypotheses three and four could not be meaningfully
tested.