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PublicationThe self-fulfilling prophecy of fear of academic failureAcademic success in Higher Education is influenced by a number of different factors. This paper tackles the question if the individual levels of motivation, anxiety, enjoyment and self-efficacy, measured immediately before entering university, influence the probability of academic success. Former studies have shown an influence of the high school grade, the learning environment and motivational variables. They do not investigate, however, the individual levels of the mentioned constructs before the beginning of the studies. This research was conducted at the University of St. Gallen/Switzerland. The sample includes 695 first-year students who provided information about the individual level of the mentioned constructs. Descriptive statistics show that on average the students are highly motivated, have a high level of self-efficacy and are looking forward to their studies before their beginning. Yet, there are students who have a high level of fear of failure in the study in spite of their high motivation and self-efficacy. A logistic regression shows that there is a significant effect of fear of failure on the probability of study success. This paper shows that fear of failure can increase the probability of academic failure and thus become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It confirms fear as an important factor for academic success. Furthermore, other important factors for academic success, for example the high school grade, could be confirmed in this study.
PublicationA person-centred approach to students' transition into Higher EducationA highly selective first study phase in many Swiss study programs leads to a rather competitive climate among students. However, the atmosphere at the university is an important factor for students' transition into Higher Education. An important question in this context is whether students' are equipped with different dispositions influencing how they cope with this transition. Other research has already shown that different groups of students can be identified regarding their student behavior. Yet, so far little is known about patterns of variables characterizing students, transitioning successfully. The paper takes advantage of a person-centered approach, i.e. the latent-class analysis, which makes it possible to identify groups of individuals, sharing common attributes. The research was conducted as a longitudinal study during their first year at a Swiss university. The return rate was about 67%, with 820 utilizable questionnaires at t1. Based on the analysis of students' anxiety, intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy, three distinct classes of students could be identified. The first class can be called the "highly motivated and self-confident" students. The second class is characterized by the same pattern, however, on a more intermediate level and the last class can be described as the "least motivated and most anxious" group of students. This study contributes to research and theory on students' transition into higher education and could be a first hint that students' experiences of this transition can vary substantially.