Conceptualization of Educational Persistence within Malaysian Higher Institution

Conceptualization of Educational Persistence within Malaysian Higher Institution

Monsurat Olusola Mosaku (Department of Educational Foundation and Social Sciences, Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru, Malaysia) and Mohamed Najib Abdul Ghafar (Department of Educational Foundation and Social Sciences, Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru, Malaysia)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/IJISSC.2017010103
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Abstract

Psychological constructs have been empirically linked to academic performance (as measured by Grade Point Average) and its improvement. Focal amid these psychological constructs are Goal Orientation, Self-Regulated Strategies, Disposition to Persevere and Attention. However, researches have been dedicated on the relationship of a few of these variables to academic performance but have not been examined as a single framework incorporating the theoretical models of all these variables. This study thus investigates a composite integrated model of the above mentioned variables to assess the learning quality of students termed as Educational Persistence. Its attainment warrants the utilization of a questionnaire developmental model. This study conceptualizes Educational Persistence for Malaysian higher education based on Cohen and Swerdlik (2002) questionnaire development model.
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Introduction

The primary aim of higher education (HE) is to educate otherwise referred to as professionalization (Altbach, 2011; Astin, 1985; Barnett, 2007; Boud & Falchikov, 2006). It entails progression to higher order domains of cognitive learning such as synthesis and evaluation of learning content (Altbach & Knight, 2007; Bloom, 1956) and inculcating interpersonal and intrapersonal skills essential in the twenty-first century (Barnett, 2007). Service to the society and research activities (Boud & Falchikov, 2006) are two other primary aims of higher education. Professionalization is greatly influenced by the dictates of the contemporary labour market and this is apparent in the pedagogical process. However, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills are influenced by psychological variables. In addition, the prevalent learning theory is constructivism whereby students’ actively construct their own knowledge, meaning and skills (Au, 2009) and this results in their learning quality regarded as either educational, performance, or practice approach (A. W Chickering, 1969; Tam, 2001). Constructivism leads to both active and problem based learning. In a social context, it can lead to cooperative or collaborative learning. Zainal Shah (2011) and Raskin (2008) conclude that constructivism is a combination of cognitive (thinking) and affective (feeling) tendencies drawing a combination of humanistic, existential and phenomenological philosophical ideas. These affective tendencies have psychological underlying roots.

The seven higher learning outcomes of Chickering (A.W. Chickering, Gamson, & Poulsen, 1987) can be used as an indicator of the learning quality. These are:

  • 1.

    Achieving competence: Mastery of content or discipline and its specialization;

  • 2.

    Managing emotions: From those that interfere with learning (anger, anxiety, hopelessness (Au, 2009) to those that assist it (optimism, hopefulness);

  • 3.

    Mature interpersonal relations: Respecting differences, working with peers;

  • 4.

    Moving from autonomy to independence: Moving from needing assurance and approval of others to self-sufficiency, problem solving, and decision making;

  • 5.

    Establishing identity: Self-esteem and self-efficacy;

  • 6.

    Developing purpose: From Who am I? and Where am I? to Where am I going?

  • 7.

    Developing integrity.

It is evident from literature search that more emphasis and assessment is given to the first outcome stated as achieving competence. The remaining six learning outcomes are equally important as it develops the students to be responsible professionals. These six outcomes are also linked to the valuable benefits (by-products), in relation to the function of HE which is instilling critical thinking (rooted in liberal education) in the students in order for them to understand and integrate with the society. In addition, these valuable by-products or benefits furthermore trains HE students to:

  • 1.

    Be better decision makers;

  • 2.

    Inculcate lifelong learning tendencies;

  • 3.

    Be more informed and accessible to better social, health, financial health privileges;

  • 4.

    Possess more self-confidence, discipline and perseverance.

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