UBC Theses and Dissertations
Self-concept and locus of control : a study of intermediate and secondary students with learning disabilities Charlton, Janice Mary
This study involving 43 intermediate and secondary level students with learning disabilities investigated two major areas. First, the relationship between four facets of self-concept and academic locus of control were examined. Second, the influences special education placement variables have on self-concept and locus of control were investigated. Academic self-concept, general self-concept, math self-concept and verbal self-concept were measured by the Self Description Questionnaire III. Academic locus of control was measured by the Intellectual Achievement Responsibility Questionnaire; it also gives scores for internal locus of control for success and internal locus of control for failure. The special education placement variables were: age at first placement in a learning assistance centre (resource room); number of years spent in learning assistance centre; age at first placement in a self-contained special education class; number of years in a self-contained special education class; present placement (intermediate grade level or secondary grade level) and grades repeated. The data indicated that general self-concept and academic self-concept were not related. Math self-concept, verbal self-concept and academic self-concept tended to be negative and general self-concept tended to be positive. No statistically significant relationship was found between academic self-concept and internal academic locus of control. The sample tended to have negative academic self-concepts and internal academic locus of control. A positive relationship was found between general self-concept and internal academic locus of control. Internal locus of control for academic failure was positively correlated with internal locus of control for academic success. A positive relationship was found between mathematics self-concept and verbal self-concept, with the majority of students having negative self-concept in both areas. The age of first placement in a learning assistance centre and the number of years spent in the program did not influence either self-concept or locus of control. Age at first placement in a self-contained special education class did not relate to self-concept or locus of control. The number of years a child spent in a self-contained special education class was inversely related to internal academic locus of control. No differences in self-concept or locus of control were found between intermediate and secondary grade level students. An inverse relationship was found between grades repeated and internal academic locus of control. After failing only one grade, students still had an internal academic locus of control, but failing two or more usually indicated an external academic locus of control. Limitations of this study were the problems with definition of the term learning disabilities and classification for the purposes of programming. As a result of this study, it was concluded that further study of the influence special education programming has on the self-concept and locus of control of learning disabled students should be of a longitudinal or ethnographic nature.