Some correlates of superior academic ability. (1959)
AuthorsFrancis, Ronald Davidshow all
In very general terms the problem is to distinguish some factors associated with intellectual ability. The correlates sought were not thought to exist in any particular region but were sought merely as correlates 'per se'. This might be alternatively expressed by saying that this research was not started with any particular theory in mind. To qualify this last statement although no explicitly formulated theory was delineated it was presumed that both the background and the present qualities of a person join to form the likelihood of a person succeeding at any given task. A third factor, in addition to these two, enters into the problem. The third factor is the situation itself. In this case it was the university situation which for present purposes is fixed. Not only is the situation fixed at present but also is objectively the same for all students, whether sub-or-super-average. No doubt the subjective aspects are of direct relevance in many situations but in the interests of simplicity they lie outside the main scope of this study. We confine ourselves then to those aspects other than the situation. Firstly there can be a section of personal history or back-ground in which main results are tabulated under a series of standard headings. These items can then be subjected to some simple non-parametric statistical technique. By this method one can make a reasonably objective account of the significant items. Regrettably this approach is little used yet it seems to yield the most prolific results for the effort involved. For us this is the main area of interest. Secondly there is the concern with present qualities. In both practice and utility the most fruitful way of approaching this aspect of the problem seems to be through testing. Perhaps the crudest and consequently most acceptable dichotomy we could formulate would be that of cognitive vs personality aspects. Bearing in mind William James' famous dictum on fusion we might fruitfully try to assess the potency of each of these respective categories. By use of the outline above we may find certain factors to be related to academic ability but at the stage of this research they are better expressed as correlates only and little attempt will be made to arrive at the causative factors which mediate these correlates, should any be found to exist.