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A study of student adjustment at varying grade levels in high school Groome, Les Jaquest

Abstract

Since educators today consider the development of the personality of students to be an important function of the school, the writer attempted to measure the growth of personality during the high-school period. From an analysis of the results, it was hoped to discover how the students' psychological needs varied as they went through high school, and what the implications were for a guidance program. The California Test of Personality was administered to 720 students in Kitsilano High School, Vancouver, B.C. These students are believed to be representative of the academic ability and socio-economic background of the students in the Vancouver high schools. One hundred and seventy-two boys and 155 girls were tested in grade eight, 126 boys and 125 girls in grade ten, and 74 boys and 68 girls in grade twelve. In general, there was no difference between the mean scores of boys and girls within each grade. Only five of 39 differences were three times as large as their respective standard errors. The personality development of the boys from Grade VIII through Grade XII was compared with the growth shown by the girls in the same period. Differences between mean scores of the two sexes for the various components of the test led to the following observations: (1) For both sexes, higher means were found in the later grades in total and self-adjustment, and in self-reliance, personal worth, feeling of belonging, anti-social tendencies and school relations; (2) There was little change in social-adjustment, social skills, and family and community relations; (3) Irregular development was found in personal freedom, withdrawing tendencies and social standards; (4) Scores of the girls tended to increase and those of the boys to remain stationary in nervous symptoms; (5) The only significant negative difference between the mean scores of boys in grades twelve and ten was in withdrawing tendencies. In general, grade-level differences in mean scores indicated that students in grade eight were not as well adjusted as those in grade ten, and students in grade ten ranked lower than those in grade twelve in most components of the California Test of Personality. The mean differences between grades eight and ten tended to be fairly large, while the changes in means from grades ten to twelve were found to be smaller and more erratic. From the test, data, the components of personality which called for particular attention appeared to be: (1) Nervous symptoms, self reliance, social skills and freedom from anti-social tendencies in grade VIII; (2) Social skills and family and community relations as well as total social-adjustment in the upper grades; (3) Personal worth, feeling of belonging and social standards for grade-ten boys; Sense of personal freedom and withdrawing tendencies for grade-twelve boys; (4) Freedom from nervous symptoms in the upper grades; (5) Personal freedom for grade-twelve girls. In addition to the general areas outlined above, certain students with very low test scores would, if the test results were valid, require expert guidance and help to correct their maladjustments. The evidence points to the need for a guidance program especially designed to enable pupils to improve from year to year in the traits in which their scores suggest unsatisfactory adjustment.

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