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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A study of the predictive value of the battery of psychological tests used by the Counselling Office of the University of British Columbia Luyendyk, Walter Rigby


The study was undertaken in an attempt to provide the counsellors of the University of British Columbia Counselling Office with information as to the predictive value of three psychological tests used in the Office battery. These tests were: 1. The Henmon-Nelson Tests of Mental Ability -For College Students - Form A. 2. The Purdue Placement Test in English - For Colleges and Senior High Schools - Form A. 3. The "J" Mathematics Test, University of British Columbia. Since the test results were being used primarily to assist in the counselling of incoming freshmen, the predictive values of the tests were determined in terms of first year marks - Average Final, English Composition Final and Mathematics 101 Final marks. A sample of 150 students was chosen in which all volunteered for testing and counselling In the summer of 1950 and had completed the compulsory English courses and the elective Mathematics 101 course as part of a full first year's work during the 1950-51 university session. By various correlation methods, coefficients of correlation were calculated between the variables and the criteria singly and in all possible combinations. From these, regression equations were constructed and the most useful transposed to graphs for ease in use. Results of the investigation were typical of those reported by most authors who had conducted similar studies. The Henmon-Nelson Test, a test of general intelligence, was found to be of little use in prediction when used alone in terms of correlation coefficients. It was found to be of some value, however, when used in combination with the other variables. Considered on the basis of expectancy tables, the extremes of test's distribution were helpful in isolating the extremes of the criteria. The Purdue Placement Test alone was the best predictor of the English Composition Final mark, and, with the "J" Mathematics Test, was the best predictor of the Average Final mark. The most useful single variable predicting the latter mark was found to be the "J" Mathematics Test. Prediction of the Mathematics 101 Final mark was very difficult and unreliable because the distribution was not sufficiently normal. Nowhere in the literature were correlation coefficients reported that bettered those of this investigation, suggesting that the three tests presently in use were producing results typical of similar measures used elsewhere in prediction. An adequate comparison would only be possible if likely alternatives were used on the same sample in the same setting with the same controls and techniques as were those in this study. Various recommendations for further study were listed. The most important of them was one concerning the predictive value of the high school record, which, in the literature, excelled psychological test results in importance. Analyses of other factors in prediction such as motivation, personality traits and interest patterns were also suggested. Within the limitation that the results could apply only to freshmen entering university and volunteering for testing and counselling, the study indicated that the three tests could be effectively used in prediction.

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