2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 36-1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


DYKAS, Matthew, Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126 and VALENTINO, David, Department of Atmospheric and Geological Sciences, State University of New York at Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126, matt.dykas@oswego.edu

Understanding geology students’ abilities– and inabilities– to engage successfully in fieldwork is of importance to students, educators, and employers. Given the dearth of research on this topic, we examined how academic and personality-related factors predict students’ success in a field camp. We expected that neither students’ academic success (i.e., GPA scores) nor their perceived preparedness for fieldwork would predict their fieldwork performance. Rather, we hypothesized that students’ inherent academic motivation, academic self-concept, and self-efficacy would predict performance.

Participants were geology majors (n = 53; 55% female) who were enrolled in a 5-week geology field camp run through SUNY Oswego during the summer of 2012 or 2014 in the mountains of northeastern PA and the NY Adirondack State Park. Before field camp commenced, students reported their GPA scores (M= 3.04, SD = .47) and their self-perceived preparedness for fieldwork (using a measure adapted from Griffin, 2002). Students also completed the Academic Motivation Scale (Vallerand et al, 1992), the Academic Self-Concept Scale (Reynolds et al., 1980), and the College Self-Efficacy Inventory (Solberg et al., 1993). At the end of the field experience, faculty sponsors calculated final fieldwork grades (on a 100-point scale) for all participants.

As expected, students’ self-reported GPA scores and perceived preparedness for geology field camp scores did not predict their final grades (r = .11, p = .45, and r = .07, p = .65, respectively). Overall, our hypotheses related to links between students’ personality-related factors and performance in fieldwork were largely confirmed. For example, with regard to motivation, the more intrinsically motivated a student was, the better they performed in field camp (r = .40, p = .006). Similar results emerged such that greater self-regulation and lower non-motivation was linked to better field camp grades (r = .35, p = .02, and r = .37, p = .01, respectively). Finally, more positive academic self-concept and self-efficacy scores predicted better overall field camp grades (r = .38, p = .01, and r = .41, p = .005, respectively). Full data and the implications of these data will be discussed.