Academically unpredictable school children: Their attitudes toward school subjects

Herbert C. Richards, University of Virginia
Donna Gaver, Elizabethtown College
Heidi Golicz, University of Connecticut


The major hypothesis of the study is that children whose performance in school falls below that predicted by standardized test scores will evidence poorer attitudes toward core academic subjects. To test this notion, 43 fourth graders (17 girls and 26 boys) were administered the Estes Attitude Scales to measure their feelings about mathematics, reading, and science. Grades in these same school subjects were obtained from the children’s teachers. Grade point averages were then regressed on SRA Educational Ability Series quotients (EAS) obtained two years prior to the study. The children were classified into groups according to the discrepancy between predicted and actual school performance. Attitudes toward each school subject were examined as a function of group. Although the major hypothesis was generally supported by the data, the relationship was not linear. Extreme overachievers as well as underachievers were found to have poorer attitudes than their more accurately predicted counterparts. © 1984 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.