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Wood, R. E., & Locke, E. A., “The relation of self-efficacy and grade goals to academic performance” Educational and Psychological Measurement, 47, 1013-1024. Winter. 1987.

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Article

Academic Performance of Introductory Psychology Students: The Importance of Critical Thinking

1Department of Psychology, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina, USA


Research in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. 2015, Vol. 3 No. 2, 25-31
DOI: 10.12691/rpbs-3-2-2
Copyright © 2015 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Kerry A. Schwanz, Megan McIlreavy. Academic Performance of Introductory Psychology Students: The Importance of Critical Thinking. Research in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. 2015; 3(2):25-31. doi: 10.12691/rpbs-3-2-2.

Correspondence to: Kerry  A. Schwanz, Department of Psychology, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina, USA. Email: kaschwan@coastal.edu

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the importance of critical thinking for academic performance of students enrolled in introductory level psychology courses. Critical thinking skills and academic self-efficacy were significantly related to how students performed at the end of an introductory psychology course. Critical thinking skills along with high school GPA were the best predictors of student learning at the end of the course. Critical thinking was not predictive of overall academic performance as measured by cumulative GPA at the end of the semester. Instead, high school GPA emerged as the sole predictor of cumulative GPA, accounting for 22% of the variance. Results indicated no significant difference in critical thinking, academic self-efficacy, or final exam performance at the end of the semester for students enrolled in psychology courses taught using two different methods; Team-Based Learning vs. a traditional lecture format. The implications for these findings as they relate to academic performance and overall student learning in higher education are discussed.

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