IMPACT OF PERSONALITY TRAITS ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
is something everybody knows that it exists, but nobody knows that what it is
(Schneewind and Ruppert, 1998). It is certainly true that it is difficult to
put human personality which Goethe (1970) called the greatest happiness for
children of this earth into scientific terms.Personality determines a set of
important characteristics and that how people interact with others. Human
personality is the combination of a number of traits.
can be measured as a set of items usually questions about behaviour and
feelings to which the subjects have to respond by agreeing or disagreeing with
that question or statements. (Kline, 1993).In 1930 personality psychology
became an identifiable discipline in social sciences. During that time many
separate lines of inquiry came together for the field generated by Allport (1937),
Murry(1938) and Lewin(1935).Mary Laurence F. Fortu (n.d) described the
following as the components of personality which are habits, attitudes, interests,
values, principles and mental capacity or intelligence.
performance is a major issue among students, teachers, parents, school
administrators, and the community at large. Attempts have been made by
researchers to unravel the complexities surrounding academic performance.
Psychologists have put forward a lot of reasons why these disparities in performance
exist. A lot of attention had been paid to external factors such as type of
school, teaching methods, school location, instructional materials, teachers
experience, and so on (WAEC, 2005). Many spend lots of money in order to secure
good schools either for their children or themselves and those who can afford
it even invest on education abroad as they believe this will enhance performance,
and which in turn gives an added advantage in terms of securing gainful
employment. Opinions vary as to why some students excel academically while
others appear to be underachievers. Many psychologists have consistently
attempted to identify the major predictors of individual academic performance.
Factors such as intelligence, self concept, gender, study habit, maturation,
home background, amongst others, just to mention a few, have been extensively
explored as being responsible for academic performance. Other factors that have
been researched into in the past include: child rearing patterns, peer group
influence, socio-economic background and learning environment. Another major
factor that is believed to be responsible for academic performance in students
is their personality traits. Traits Theorists have tried to identify the major
traits that characterize personality. Notable among these are Sigmund Freud in
the early 1900's, Gordon All port (1961), Cattell (1967), Hans Eysenck (1985)
Feldman (1994), McCrae and Costa (1987) and a host of others. Personality has
been defined in many ways by many psychologists who wrote on the concept.
According to Feldman (1994) in Daminabo (2008), Personality is the sum total of
the characteristics that differentiates people, or the stability of a person's
behavior across different situations. In other words it means those qualities
the individual is noted for. Traits on the other hand are "enduring
dimensions of personality characteristics which differentiates people from one
another" (Colman, 2003). Traits are therefore the sum total of stable
characteristics in a person across different times and situations, which make him
or her unique or distinct from others. This agrees with the definition by
Mischel 1981, (in Agbakwuru, 2000) which refer to personality traits as
consistent differences between the behaviors characteristic of two or more
people. It is also defined as "any distinguishable, relatively enduring
way in which one individual varies from another" (Guliford, 1959 in
Agbakwuru 2000).However, there has been an increasing interest in the big five
personality traits and the role they play as regards academic performance of
students. Of particular interest is the role that these traits play in the
academic performance of students. These traits, popularly known as the 'Big
Five’ include conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness to experience,
extraversion and locus of control. The acronym CAOEL is used to describe them.
These personality traits affect academic performance in students, either
positively or negatively. And so parents, educationists, psychologists,
counselors, are all worried at the rate of decline of academic standard. Big
Five otherwise known as CAOEL has therefore been explored in order to find
possible solutions to the problem of underachievement amongst school students.
The acronym CAOEL denotes the traits: conscientiousness, agreeableness,
openness, extraversion and locus of control to experience. McCrae and Costa
(1980) researched extensively on these traits. A high score on
Conscientiousness shows a student who is self disciplined, careful, thorough,
organized and determined. Low scores on this trait portray indiscipline,
carelessness, disorganization and indifference. That student who scores highly
on this trait is expected to perform excellently well, academically and vice
describes one who is sympathetic, trusting and cooperative. Students with high
scores on agreeableness are selfless, flexible and pleasant. Such students work
with others easily with little or no friction. Those scoring low on this trait
however find it difficult to get along with others. McCrae and Costa 1988 in
Daminabo, (2008) noted this to be psychotics, which refers to a person who is
skeptical, unsympathetic, uncooperative and rude. Low scores are expected to
affect academic performance negatively.
researcher is therefore out to examine what influence these personality traits
have on the academic performance of students.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
problem of underachievement has assumed a worrisome dimension in the Nigerian
educational system. Desperate to make it anyhow, students have devised various
illegal means to succeed in examinations, even when they are not academically
competent. And unfortunately, the system has buckled under the pressure.
Examination malpractice has risen steadily to become a seemingly untamable
monster. It is increasingly becoming difficult to equate competence of people
with supposed academic performance as represented in their certificates. Many
candidates are unable to defend the result they supposedly acquired honorably.
And of course this has consistently led to inability to compete effectively in
the job market which has become a serious issue. Several factors have been
researched into in the past as to the cause of this social malaise, but there
seem to be indications that some hidden factors may be responsible that needs
unraveling. This desire to see this problem curbed gave rise to this study and
the researchers’ aim is to see if there is a way in which the big five
personality traits can help, especially from the perspective of the analytical
and scientific approach of measurement and evaluation.
researcher has consequently chosen to explore this problem among the students.
This study is therefore aimed at an examination of the influence of personality
traits on academic performance of the students.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
objectives of the study are therefore to:
out there is any significant relationship between personality trait and
students academic performance.
the different types of personality trait that can influence students academic
examine the factors influencing students academic performance.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
there any significant relationship between personality trait and students
are the different types of personality trait that can influence student’s
are the factors influencing students academic performance?
Thereis no significant relationship between personality trait and students
Thereis significant relationship between personality trait and students
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
study will educate the stakeholders in the education sector on how the
individual personality traits of students can influence their academic
performance. This study will also enlighten them on different types of personality
traits and how these traits can influence academic performance of students.
research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the
effect of personality trait on student’s academic performance, thereby
constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study on the
impact of personality trait on the academic performance of students in Nigeria
covers all the students in Edo state, Nigeria by carefully examining their
different personality traits and its effect on student’s academic performance.
The study will also cover an overview of factors hindering student’s academic
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the
researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information
and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work.
This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual's
is the outcome of education — the extent to which a student,
teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals
a distinguishing quality or characteristic, typically one belonging to a
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