The prediction of educational outcomes in the adult learner, using the Theory of Planned Behaviour and self-esteem
Adult students (n = 211) from a Private Training Establishment located in a low socio-economic area of Counties Manukau, New Zealand, were assessed for intent to achieve and actual outcome. Each year in New Zealand approximately 25% of students leaving school do so with no qualifications. It is estimated that in the Counties Manukau Region there are 77,000 adults with no educational qualifications, impacting on earning ability and on self-esteem. Failure rate at tertiary education is high, with 38% of under 18 year olds not achieving, and this figure worsens with age. The cost to New Zealand of having people not in employment, not in education and not in training is estimated to be close to $1.0 billion per year and in Counties Manukau the cost of youth unemployment is between $55 and $73 million per annum. This study applied The Theory of Planned Behaviour to assess intent to achieve, and was expanded to include a self-esteem component (Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale, 1965). The Theory of Planned Behaviour sufficiently predicted intent, and was significantly improved with the self-esteem component. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale successfully predicted outcome, however findings need to be interpreted with caution. The initial self-esteem levels (M=20.59), whilst just above the accepted criteria (M=20.00) validate other studies indicating that New Zealand has an over-all low level of self-esteem compared with other similar countries. These findings indicate opportunity for future research into the prediction of outcome and ability of learning establishments to mitigate risk of non-achievement for the adult learner. They also support the further investigation of the low level of self-esteem as evidenced in this study.