Title page for ETD etd-04092007-093933

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Hargroder, Wanda Green
Author's Email Address whargro@lsu.edu
URN etd-04092007-093933
Title Demographic and Psychological Factors Influencing Academic Success in a College Level Human Anatomy Course
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Resource Education Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Michael Burnett Committee Chair
Amelia Lee Committee Member
Earl Johnson Committee Member
Krisanna Machtmes Committee Member
Pam Blanchard Dean's Representative
  • academic self-efficacy
  • health care shortage
  • outcome expectancy
  • human anatomy
  • self-efficacy
Date of Defense 2007-03-19
Availability unrestricted
The primary purpose of this study was to determine the influence of selected demographic and psychological characteristics on the academic achievement of students enrolled in an undergraduate human anatomy course at a research-extensive university in the Southern region of the United States.

As health care in the United States becomes increasingly strained due to a decreasing ratio of health care workers, educating more students to fill this gap has become a societal issue. Human anatomy forms the foundation of all health care professions. From the molecular to the macroscopic, anatomy provides a unique and necessary perspective of the human body. This material is necessary for a base of knowledge in medical professions. Thus, the need exists for higher education to identify reasons students succeed or fail in the capstone course of human anatomy.

This study’s population was defined as undergraduate students enrolled in a semester-long human anatomy course at a research-extensive university in the fall 2005 and spring 2006 semesters. Data were collected using three researcher-designed instruments based on the literature and course documents.

A significantly positive relationship was found between self-efficacy and final grades received in human anatomy. Using regression analysis, college grade point average and self-efficacy were found to account for 7.2% of the variance in final grades of the students in human anatomy.

The researcher concluded that self-efficacy can be used as a predictor of final grades in human anatomy. Therefore; the researcher recommended further research to measure levels of self-efficacy at intervals throughout a semester. By doing so, students whose self-efficacy is low can be identified and interventions implemented to aid student success. Interventions recommended were peer tutoring, smaller class size, academic support from the university, and more interaction between students and faculty. Additional recommendations were for higher education administration, educators, and enrollment managers to collectively find ways to help dispel some of the academic angst in future students.

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