Valid IQ tests have been available since the early 1900s and a high IQ has always been considered to mean a higher academic performance. How then can we account for such stark variations among learners with the same IQ? The answer lies in laziness and a lack of motivation versus self-discipline and perseverance.
In a longitudinal study, by Duckworth and Seligman, of 140 eighth-grade students, self-discipline, measured by self-report, parent report, teacher report, and monetary choice questionnaires in the fall predicted final school results, school attendance, regular achievement-test scores, and selection into a competitive high school program the following spring. In duplication with 164 eighth graders; a behavioural delay-of-gratification task, a questionnaire on study habits, as well as a group-administered IQ test were added to the study. Self-discipline measured in the fall accounted for more than twice as much change as IQ in results, high-school selection, school presence, hours spent doing homework, hours spent watching television, and the time of day students began their homework. The effect of self-discipline on final grades held even when controlling for first-marking-period grades, achievement-test scores, and measured IQ. These findings suggest a major reason for students falling short of their intellectual potential: their failure to exercise self-discipline.
In the study, it was found that adolescents with a higher IQ outperformed their more impatient and volatile peers on every academic performance variable. Variables included report card results, standardized achievement test scores, admission into more competitive high schools, as well as attendance. Learners with a higher level of self-discipline also earned higher GPAs and achievement test scores. These learners had a better chance of attaining admission to tertiary education, were absent less from school, spent a greater deal of time on homework and less time watching television and instead started their homework earlier. Unlike IQ studies, research based on consistent self-discipline was able to predict gains in academic performance throughout the school year. Advocating for the validity of Duckworth’s and Seligman’s findings; a study by Wolfe and Johnson in 1995 found self-discipline to be the only one among 32 measured personality variables (such as self-esteem, extraversion, energy level, etc.) that was able to predict a learner’s college grade point average.
Sadly, many teachers and parents have witnessed first-hand how some learners have wasted their academic potential. Tutors and teachers will inevitably meet learners who have the intellectual potential to excel academically and yet do not because they refuse to put in the time and effort; they lack self-discipline. So what are some of the reasons for a lack in self-discipline? According to studies, one reason is the need for instant gratification. For example, Learner A has maintained consistently low or average academic results which are a direct result of his not studying enough or putting sufficient time into his work. Learner A then suddenly decides to study hard for an upcoming test but fails to see much improvement. Learner A then assumes studying does not help, failing to realise that good grades and a substantial improvement in academic results require time, determination and self-discipline. Such examples coincide with McClure, who in 1986 speculated that, “Our society’s emphasis on instant gratification may mean that young students are unable to delay gratification long enough to achieve academic competence”.
Good results are not always a quick fix. Sometimes, improvement takes time and extra work over a long-term period. Brightsparkz Tutors realise the importance of determination and self-discipline. Our tutors will help your learner to improve their academic performance on a long-term basis rather than short term. This is done by motivating learners to do their best and by making learning more enjoyable thereby encouraging self-discipline. Let us help your learner to achieve their best with our adept and knowledgeable tutors through motivation and learning that is both informative and fun!
- To read the full article, visit: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40064361