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The relationship between interests, personality and student achievement in occupational training programmes

Ensor, Azelma A (1991) The relationship between interests, personality and student achievement in occupational training programmes. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Vocational interests and personality were investigated in five studies to determine the utility of these student characteristics as achievement correlates in a range of TAFE vocational training courses. The reliability and validity of the interest measure was examined in detail and the potentially confounding effects of ability on the link between interests and achievement was also checked.

Study 1 substantiated the six factor structure of the Vocational Preference Inventory. Differences between the factor composition obtained here and the types originally proposed by Holland were assumed to be largely a function of changes in the role of certain occupations over time.

Results from study two found that contrary to predictions, the construct of congruence derived from Holland's RIASEC model was not related to achievement for the current TAFE sample. The most likely explanation for these contradictory findings is the lack of conceptual distinction between the person and environment components of the congruence construct.

Study three showed that typological preference was of limited utility as an achievement correlate for this particular student group. Although significant, the correlations were not strong and disappeared entirely when the effects of ability were controlled for.

Studies four and five investigated the personality factor. Study four found substantial conceptual overlap between the types and Cattell's sixteen normal personality dimensions. Study five showed that these normal personality characteristics were positively related to achievement but varied as a function of the area of study in which students were enrolled. On the other hand, clinical features of personality appeared to exhibit a pervasively negative impact on performance irrespective of study area.

These findings confirm the view that examination of student characteristics can play an important role in improving the productivity of the TAFE sector. However, equity issues in relation to the possibility of using such information as a selection tool for restricting entry to TAFE will need to be carefully considered.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Savage, Doug
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