Constructs of Academic Disposition: An investigation into the concept and measurement of academic disposition, its connection to students background, academic outcomes, and learning gain.

  • Martyn Edwards

Student thesis: Phd


Following previous research into learning gain, this thesis explores the concept of students academic disposition and how this may be related to their academic outcomes. Through a systematic literature review, this thesis conceptualises academic disposition as a construct of students critical thinking, academic confidence, and academic motivation. As part of a broader research study, survey data was collected from undergraduate students in one major UK university between 2016 and 2017, and interviews conducted in 2018. A subset of 778 first-year, UK undergraduate students was selected as the sample for this thesis. Three measures of academic confidence and one measure of students perceptions of their critical thinking were constructed and validated with the Rasch Model, however no measure of academic motivation could be created from the available data. Multiple linear regression analysis was subsequently used to show how these measures were related to students, socio-economic, demographic, and academic, background, and with their perceptions of their learning experience and other attitudinal measures. The new measures were then modelled, along with students prior attainment, and socio-economic, demographic, and academic, background, to explain GPAs for first year students. The addition of two of the new measures improved the explanatory power of the model (from an adjusted R2 of 0.233 to 0.258). This demonstrated that the inclusion of measures of the constructs of academic disposition does improve our ability to model students academic progress. By providing greater understanding of academic disposition, and how it relates to students academic outcomes, this thesis may provide a potential direction for future research, inform public policy, and influence future educational practice.
Date of Award1 Aug 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMaria Pampaka (Supervisor) & Steven Jones (Supervisor)


  • Undergraduates
  • Higher Education
  • Academic Achievement
  • Academic Attainment
  • Academic Performance
  • Measurement Validation
  • Measurement Construction
  • Learning Gain
  • Multiple Linear Regression
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Critical Thinking
  • Academic Confidence
  • Rasch Analysis
  • Academic Disposition
  • Systematic Literature Review

Cite this