The correlation among ordinal positions, number of children, spacing, and academic performance
The purpose of the study was to explore the correlation among ordinal positions, number of children, and spacing within families to determine if there were a need to create learning environments tailored to meet the needs of students from various family configurations. The instrument, designed by the researcher, was a paper and pencil, self-report questionnaire. Items on the questionnaire requested demographic information such as the subject's race and sex, and information about the family such as number of children in the family, ordinal position of the subject, and years of space between each sibling. The ACT Composite scores were used as a measure of academic performance. While there were no statistically significant correlations between family configuration variables and performance on the ACT Composite, there were negative correlations between (a) ordinal positions and ACT Composite scores, (b) number of children in the family and ACT Composite scores, and (c) spacing within a family and ACT Composite scores. As numbers of children and ordinal positions increased, the ACT Composite scores decreased. There was a decrease in ACT scores shown by subjects who were spaced closely together. The following recommendations were made: (1) This study should be replicated as a longitudinal one, using a much larger number of subjects. Though there were no significant statistical differences in the categories, there were slight differences which might become significant if more subjects were included. (2) The present study did not permit the comparison of large numbers of students from large families, i.e., 10- and 12-child families, with large numbers of students from smaller families, i.e., 2- and 3-child families. A subsequent study with this level of representation might provide statistically significant correlations. (3) The present study did not permit the researcher to assess the impact of within-family configurations on academic performance. A subsequent study, which controls for the foregoing, might provide valuable information.
Wealthia Anne Penigar Mitchell-Hinton,
"The correlation among ordinal positions, number of children, spacing, and academic performance"
ETD Collection for Tennessee State University.