Do personality traits matter? A comparative study of student preferences for TLAs and assessment modes in two different majors
What, then, do we need to know about our students to better provide for more equitable outcomes? Who will succeed depend on many factors, and student personality traits is one factor less discussed in the engagement and First year experience literature. The aim of this study is to add to the teaching in higher education discussion by exploring how student differ regarding personality traits profile (IPIP-NEO-PI test; Goldberg, 1999), approaches to learning (R-SPQ-2F test; Biggs, Kember & Leung, 2001), and preference for teaching and learning activites and assessment modes. The on-line survey study was carried out in a small, teaching intensive Swedish university on students in a Business (n=144) and Pre-school teacher education program (n=179). Findings were that there seem to be systematic differences between the types of modes preferred, and also significant differences between the two majors regarding learning approach, motive and strategy. Findings are discussed in relation to Jarvis’ (2010) model of learning and disjuncture, Biesta’s (2005) discussion on educational relationships and risk, and Trowler’s (2008) concept of teaching and learning regimes (TLRs). There are two clear risks that teachers and curriculum developers face. First, teachers who are new or come from a different TLR may face the risk of alienating students and exposing them to extreme anxiety if using TLAs and assessment modes students are uncomfortable with and unused to. Second, teachers and curriculum developers run the risk of not challenging students enough, thus depriving them of valuable learning experiences.
Biesta, G. (2005). Against learning: reclaiming a language for education in an age of learning. Nordisk Pedagogik (25), 54-66.
Biggs J, B., Kember, D. & Leung, D. (2001). The revised two-factor Study Process Questionnaire: R-SPQ-2F. British Journal of Educational Psychology (71), 133-149.
Biggs, J. B. (1987). Student approaches to learning and studying. Hawthorn, Victoria: Australian Council for Educational Research.
Biggs, J. B. (2001). Enhancing learning: A matter of style or approach? In R. J. Sternberg, & L. F. Zhang, Perspectives of thinking, learning and cognitive styles (pp. 73-102). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Biggs, J. & Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for Quality Learning at University. New York: McGraw Hill.
Blåsjö, M. (2004). Studenters skrivande i två kunskapsbyggande miljöer. Stockholm: Doctoral dissertation. Stockholm University. Almqvist & Wiksell International.
Cambell, A. R. & Dickson, C. J. (1996). Predicting Student Success: a 10-year Review Using Integrative Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Professional Nursing (12:1), 47-59. https://doi.org/10.1016/S8755-7223(96)80074-3
Chamorro-Permuzic, T., Furnham, A. & Lewis, M. (2007). Personality and apporaches to learning predict preferences for different teaching methods. Learning and Individual Differences (17), 241-250. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2006.12.001
Chamorro-Premuzic, T. & Furnham, A. (2008). Personality, intelligence and approaches to learning as predictors of academic performance. Personality and Individual Differences (44), 1596-1603. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2008.01.003
Chamorro-Premuzic, T. & Furnham, A. (2009). Mainly openness: The relationship between the Big Five personality traits and learning approaches. Learning and Individual Differences (19), 524-529. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2009.06.004
Costa, P. T. & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO personality inventory (NEO-PI-R) and NEOfive-factor inventory (NEO-FFI): professional manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
Diseth, Å. (2003). Personality and approaches to learning as predictors of academic achievement. European Journal of Personality (17), 143-155. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2008.01.003
Duff, A. B. & Ferguson, J. (2004). The relationship between personality, approach to learning and academic performance. Personality and Individual Differences (36), 1907-1920. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2003.08.020
Elmgren, M. & Henriksson, A.-S. (2016). Universitetspedagogik. Lund: Studentlitteratur.
Entwistle, N. J. (1988). Motivational factors in students' approaches to learning. In R. R. Schmeck, Learning strategies and learning styles (pp. 21-25). New York: Plenum.
Furnham, A., Batey, M. & Martin, N. (2011). How would you like to be evaluated? The correlates of students' preferences for assesment methods. Personality and Individual Differences (50), 259-263. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2010.09.040
Furnham, A., Monsen, J. & Ahmetoglu, G. (2009). Typical intellectual engagement, Big Five personality traits, approaches to learning and cognitive ability predictors of academic performance. British Journal of Educational Psychology (79), 769-782. doi:10.1348/978185409X412147
Goldberg, L. R. (1999). A broad-bandwidth, public domain, personality inventory measuring the lower-level facets of several five-factor models. In D. I. Mervielde, F. De Fruyt, & F. Ostendorf, Personality Psychology in Europe, Vol. 7 (pp. 7-28). Tilburg, the Netherland: Tilburg University Press.
Goldberg, L. R., Eber, H. W., Hogan, R., Ashton, M. C., Cloninger, C. R. & Gough, H. G. (2006). The International Personality Item Pool and the future of public-domain personality measures. Journal of Research in Personality (40), 84-96. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2005.08.007
Hattie, J. (2014). Synligt lärande: för lärare. Stockholm: Natur och kultur.
Holland, J. L. (1997). Making vocational choices: A theory of vocational personality and work environments (3rd ed.). Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
Hollander, M. A. & Parker, H. J. (1972). Occupational Stereotypes and Self-descriptions: Their Relationship to Vocational Choice. Journal of Vocational Behaviour (2:1), 57-65. https://doi.org/10.1016/0001-8791(72)90007-3
Jarvis, P. (2010). Adult education and lifelong learning: theory and practice. London: Routledge.
Johnson, J. A. (2014). Measuring thirty facets of the Five Factor Model with a 120-item public domain inventory: Development of the IPIP-NEO-120. Journal of Research in Personality (51), 78-89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2014.05.003
Kahu, E. R. (2013). Framing student engagement in Higher Education. Studies in Higher Education (38:5), 758-773.
Kember, D. B. & Leung, D. (2004). Examining the multidimensionality of approaches to learning through the development of the Learning Process Questionnaire. British Journal of Educational Psychology (74), 261-280. doi:10.1348/000709904773839879
Krause, K.-L., Hartley, R., James, R. & McInnis, C. (2005). The First Year Experience in Australian Universities: Findings from a Decade of National Studies. Melbourn: Centre for the Study of Higher Education University of Melbourne.
Kuh, G. D. (2009). What student affairs professionals need to know about student engagement. Journal of College Student Development (50), 683-706.
Kuncel, N. R., Credé, M. & Thomas, L. L. (2007). A Meta-Analysis of the Predictive Validity of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and Undergraduate Grade Point Average (UGPA) for Graduate Student Academic Performance. Academy of Management Learning & Education (6:1), 51-68. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40214516
Lakhal, S., Sévigny, S. & Frenette, É. (2013). Personality and preferences for evaluation methods: A study among business administration students. Studies in Educational Evaluation (39, 103-115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stueduc.2013.02.002
Lounsbury, J., Smith, R. M., Levy, J. J., Leong, F. T. & Gibson, L. W. (2009). Personality characteristics of business majors as defined by the big five and narrow personality traits. Journal of Education for Business (84), 200-204. http://dx.doi.org/10.3200/JOEB.84.4.200-205
Marton, F. & Säljö, R. (1976). On qualitative differences in learning - 1: Outcomes and processes. British Journal of Educational Psychology (46), 4-11. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8279.1976.tb02980.x
MathWorks. (2017). Matlab. Retrieved from MathWorks webpage: https://se.mathworks.com
McCrae, R. R. & Costa, P. (1997). Conceptions and correlates of openness to experience. In R. Hogan, J. A. Johnson & S. R. Briggs, Handbook of personality psychology (pp. 825-847). San Diego, CA, US: Academic Press.
McKenzie, K. & Schweizer, R. (2001). Who Succeeds at University? Factors predicting academic performance in first year Australian university students. Higher Education Research & Development (20:1), 21-33. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07924360120043621
Ramsden, P. (2003). Learning to Teach in Higher Education. London: RoutledgeFalmer.
Rosander, P. & Bäckström, M. (2014). Personality traits measures at baseline can predict academic performance in upper secondary school three years late. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology (55), 611-618. DOI:10.1111/sjop.12165
Rosander, P., Bäckström, M. & Stenberg, G. (2011). Personality traits and general intelligence as predictors of academic performance: A structural equation modelling approach. Learning and Individual Differences, 590-596. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2011.04.004
Sautell, E., Bowles, T., Hattie, J. & Arifin, D. N. (2015). Personality, Resilience, Self-Regulation and Cognitive Ability Relevant to Teacher Education. Australian Journal of Teacher Education (40:4), 54-71.
Schaie, W. K. (1986). Beyond Calendar Definitions of Age, Time, and Cohort: The General Developmental Model Revisited. Developmental review (6), 252-277. https://doi.org/10.1016/0273-2297(86)90014-6
Shah, D. K., Yadav, R. L., Sharma, D., Yadav, P. K., Sapkota, N. K., Jha, R. K. & al., e. (2016). Learning approach among health sciences students in a medical college in Nepal: a cross-sectional study. Advances in Medical Education and Practice (7), 137-143. DOI:10.2147/AMEP.S100968
Simpson, O. (2006). Predicting student success in open and distance learning. The journal of Open, Distance and E-learning (21:2), 125-138. https://doi.org/10.1080/02680510600713110
Swanberg, A. B. & Martinsen, Ö. J. (2010). Personality, approaches to learning and achievement. Educational Psychology (30), 75-88. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01443410903410474
Svinicki, M. D. & McKeachie, W. J. (2014). McKeachie's Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teaching. Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Thomas, L. (2012). What works? Student retention & success. Building student engagement and belonging at a time of change: final report from the What works? Student retention and success programme. York: Higher Education Academy.
Trowler, P. (2008). Cultures and Change in Higher Education: Theories and Practice. London: Palgrave macmillian.
Trowler, P. & Trowler, V. (2010). Student engagement evidence summary. York: The Higher Education Academy.
Vedel, A. (2016). Big Five personality group differences across academic majors: a systematic review. Personality and Individual Differences (92), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.12.011
Vedel, A., Thomsen, D. & Larsen, L. (2015). Personality, academic major and performance: Revealing complex patterns. Personality and Individual Differences (85), 69-76. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.04.030
Yorke, M. (2004). Retention, persistence and success in on‐campus higher education, and their enhancement in open and distance learning. Open Learning (19), 19-32.
Yorke, M. & Longden, B. (2008). The First Year Experience of Higher Education in the UK. York: Higher Education Academy.
Zhang, L. F. (2003). Does the big five predict learning approaches? Personality and Individual Differences (34:8), 1431-1446. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(02)00125-3
Copyright (c) 2019 Annika Maria Fjelkner, Andreas Hakansson, Pia Rosander
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors retain copyright and grant Teaching & Learning Inquiry right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License, (CC-BY) 4.0 International, allowing others to share the work with proper acknowledgement and citation of the work's authorship and initial publication in Teaching & Learning Inquiry.