Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Higher Education Administration PhD

First Advisor

Edward A. Streeter

Second Advisor

Jerome D. Thayer

Third Advisor

Lawrence E. Turner, Jr.


Problem. There has been growing concern that high-school students should be held more responsible fortheir educational results. This study aimed at developing a diligence inventory (DI) to measure the nature and extent of student involvement in their education.

The purpose of the study was to develop the DI and to formulate a multiple-regression equation to predict competence (semester GPA) from diligence and ability (ACT score). It was envisioned that this model could suggest intervention for improved student performance through the diligence component.

Method. Two hundred and thirty-seven high-school juniors and seniors participated in the study. Item analysis and factor analysis were used in the development of the DI. Correlational and multiple linear regression analyses were employed in the development of the regression model. Analysis of variance was used to establish construct validity of the DI and to determine demographic differences in diligence among students.

Results. Diligence was defined as an expression or reflection of effort expended toward holistic developmentand was operationalized through five dimensions and 55 items. The five scales were: Motivation, Concentration and Assimilation, Conformity and Responsibility, Discipline, and Devotedness and Spirituality.

No significant zero-order correlation was noted between students' diligence and ability scores. A significant zero-order correlation (.54) appeared between students' ability and competence scores and between students' diligence and competence scores (.32). A significant multiple correlation coefficient (.61) resulted between competence and a linear combination of diligence and ability.

Significant main effects in diligence appeared for gender and grade. Females tended to be more diligent than males across the grades, and juniors appeared to be more diligent than seniors across genders. Of the three age groups studied, the youngest students tended to be more diligent than their older counterparts (p $<$.001). No significant difference was evident for the four socioeconomic levels studied.

Conclusions. Diligence appears to be a useful phenomenon to explain student competence as well as suggest intervention measures for improvement. Used in combination with ability, diligence can address the question of equity as far as assigning grades and interpreting performance levels are concerned. For example, situations where able students do not expend effort and perform poorly, and converse situations, may be accounted for in a diligence-ability model.

Subject Area

High school students--Michigan--Psychological testing

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