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László Kasik : Social behaviour and academic achievement among 13-to 16 year-olds

The questions of the relation between social behaviour and school achievement have attracted growing research attention in education, based on the recognition of the extraordinary importance of the development of the social behaviour regarding long term accommodation to the environment. The aim of our research is to explore those dimensions of the individual that fundamentally determine adolescent social behaviour and school achievement. Representative of the Hungarian school system, the sample was comprised of 13, 15 and 16-year-old students from elementary and secondary school (N= 230). The Big Five Questionnaire (Caprara et al., 1992) was used, which focuses on the personality traits extraversion, friendliness, emotional instability, conscientiousness and openness. As indicators of academic achievement, grade averages from different subject areas were used. To characterise family influences on social behaviour and academic achievements, maternal education was included among the variables. Results show that the social components of the personality do not improve with age. On the contrary, a decrease of average values was found for friendliness, conscientiousness and openness. The correlation analyses revealed a rich relationship between the factors for the 13-year-olds, but a lower number and weaker intensity of such relations surfaced in the other two age groups. Similarly to the knowledge and cognitive abilities of students, significant differences in the development of the personality factors can be identified by school type, the differentiation being the most pronounced in vocational students. Analyzing the connection between personality traits and academic achievement, the former have strong correlations with grammar, literature and history grades in all age groups and subsamples, and the strength of the relations increases with age. Maternal education and a few learning-related variables examined (e.g. number of books, time spent on studying) do not affect these dimensions significantly.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 106. Number 3. 231-258. (2006)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Kasik László, Szegedi Tudományegyetem Neve¬¬léstudományi Intézet, H–6722 Szeged, Petőfi Sándor sgt. 30–34.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia