Academic Achievement of the Scheduled Caste College Students in ...
Academic Achievement of the
Scheduled Caste College Students in
Manonmaniam Sundaranar University
G. RITA GORETTILOURDES
The objective of the study was to find out the influence of the psychological fac-
tors on the academic achievement of the scheduled caste (SC) college students of
the Manonmaniam Sundaranar University. Results showed that the SC students
were above average in their academic achievement. These students were also
found to have freed themselves from psychological deprivation as they possessed
good temperament, good adjustment, high self-concept and high level of inde-
pendence. One problem of the SC students, as the study indicates, is their high
anxiety levels.
Dr. G. Rita Goretti Lourdes is with the Indira Gandhi National Open University
at Tuticorin, TAMIL NADU.

INTRODUCTION
There are many children whose academic achievement in schools do
not match their mental abilities. And then there are many others
whose academic achievement is higher than their mental capabilities.
There must exist certain aspects of in children's personalities, which
enable the latter to be more successful than what their latent abilities
would warrant. Also, there must be other variables of a personality,
which restrain the former in their academic pursuits and force them to
follow the achievement their mental capabilities warrant.
To support such an observation, many researchers have reported
significant association between certain non-cognitive factors and aca-
demic achievement (Cattell, 1967; Dhaliwal, 1971; Gopalacharyulu,
1984; Gupta, 1983; Jahan, 1985; Hussain, 1977; Sharma, 1979).
Extroversion/Introversion and Academic Achievement
Several British studies seem to confirm the academic superiority over
the extrovert (Entwistle, 1972; Enwistle and Brennan, 1971;

Academic Achievement of the Scheduled Caste College Students... 541
Entwistle and Enwistle, 1970; Lavin, 1965). Likewise, many investi-
gators from different countries (Cole, 1974; De Barbenza and
Montoya, 1974; Dessent, 1977; Ennis, 1973; Gaffrey, 1974; Garret,
1978; Gouer, 1976; Lee, 1975; Mandal and others, 1974; Meehan,
1975; Orme, 1975; Somasundaram, 1980; Srivastava and Saxena
1979; Talley, 1976) have shown that introversion is positively associ-
ated with high academic achievement.
Self-Concept and Academic Achievement
Bhatnagar (1969) and Shivappa (1969) have reported positive rela-
tionship between academic achievement and self-concept of high
school students. Pratibha and Sharma (1970) found that students with
an average level of self-concept scored higher in achievement than
those who had a very high or low self-concept.
Vasantha (1970) found that urban and rural students differed in
their self-concept scores and achievement scores. She also found that
boys had significantly higher scores than girls. Pratibha and Bhullar
(1974) and Saraswati and Gaur (1979) state that the relationship be-
tween self-concept and academic achievement is positive and signifi-
cant. Other studies (Pathni, 1985; Singha, 1983; Sundaram, 1983;
Sween, 1984) have also found positive correlation between
self-concept and academic achievement.
Independence and Academic Achievement
Studies have also shown that independent students tend to choose ab-
stract, analytical majors such as mathematics, engineering and
physics, while dependent students tend to choose majors that deal
more directly with people such as social work, nursing and the hu-
manities.
Temperament and Academic Achievement
Walson (1960) found that low achievers tended to be nervous and re-
sistant. Klienmuntz (1969) found under-achievers to be ineffectual,
pessimistic, procrastinating, anxious and worried. Robers (1969)
found over-achievers to be serious, honest, industrious, modest,
obliging and steady, while the under-achievers were defensive, re-
sentful, demanding, stubborn, rebellious and inconsistent in tempera-
ment. Agarwal (1975) and Sharma (1981)-found under-achievers
comparatively less emotionally mature.

542 G. Rita Goretti Lourdes
Adjustment and Academic Achievement
Studies in the area of academics as related to adjustment have been
made by many researchers, including Sundaram (1983). Rao (1963)
studied university students' academic performance and reported that
the over-achievers tended to differ significantly from normal achievers.
Vighnoi (1974) found that high-achievers were better adjusted than
low-achievers in five areas of adjustment as well as total adjustment
scores.
Anxiety and Academic Achievement
Research in general indicates that achievement anxiety affects aca-
demic achievement. As per Donal's (1973) study, anxious children are
prone to lower levels of achievement. Sinha (1974) found that manifest
anxiety symptoms had a debilitating effect upon academic achieve-
ment. Deshpande (1984), Mehrotra (1986), Sundaram (1983), and
Vishnoi (1975), reported that anxiety played an important role in pull-
ing down achievement, perhaps to a greater extent in the case of un-
der-achievers than in the case of over-achievers. A negative
relationship between anxiety and academic achievement is thus estab-
lished from the above studies.
The psychological characteristics cited above - extroversion / in-
troversion, self-concept, independence, temperament, adjustment and
anxiety have been found to influence a student's academic achieve-
ment.
There are many studies which prove that the scheduled caste (SC)
students are found to be lower in their academic achievement when
compared to their counterparts from the general castes, mainly be-
cause of their psychological deficiencies, for example Verma and
Sheikh, 1992. However, some of the studies on the SC students show
that they are as good as the students of the privileged classes in many
of these characteristics.
As each state or locality of a country, especially like that of India is
unique in its character, customs and traditions, the research findings
of a given state or locality can have neither identical nor the same im-
plication for the others. Therefore, a study of the above mentioned
psychological characteristics of the SC students seems to be essential
to identify the factors influencing the academic achievement of the
SC students in colleges affiliated to Manonmaniam Sundaranar Uni-
versity.

Academic Achievement of the Scheduled Caste College Students... 543
PROBLEMS AND OBJECTIVES
The present study examines the personality characteristics of the SC
college students and their academic achievement. The specific ques-
tions covering different aspects of the study are expressed as the ob-
jectives of the study:
1. To find out the level of the academic achievement of the SC
college students.
2. To make an appraisal of the stature of the SC college students
in respect of their psychological characteristics.
3. To find out the difference in the academic achievement of the
students with regard to the background variables of gender,
subject of study, course of study, and locality.
4. To find out the correlation between the academic achievement
of the SC college students and the above mentioned back-
ground variables.
5. To find out the correlation between the academic achievement
of the SC college students and the following psychological
characteristics:
• extroversion / introversion,
• self-concept,
• independence,
• temperament,
• adjustment, and
• anxiety.
6. To find out the difference between
• the SC boys and the SC girls,
• the SC Arts students and the SC Science students,
• the SC undergraduate students and the SC postgraduate stu-
dents, and
• the SC rural and SC urban students
with regard to the correlation between their academic
achievement and the above mentioned psychological charac-
teristics.
HYPOTHESES
The hypotheses of the study are as follows:
1. The academic achievement of the SC college students is low.
2. The SC college students are deficient in the psychological
characteristics.

544 G. Rita Goretti Lourdes
3. There is no significant difference between the SC students
categorised on the basis of the background variables with re-
gard to their academic achievement.
4. The academic achievement of the SC college students is
not significantly correlated with the background vari-
ables.
5. The academic achievement of the SC college students is not
significantly correlated with psychological characteristics.
6. There is no significant difference between
• the SC boys and the SC girls,
• the SC Arts students and the SC Science students,
• the SC undergraduate students and SC post-graduate stu-
dents, and
• the SC rural and SC urban students,
with regard to the correlation between their academic achieve-
ment and the psychological characteristics.
METHOD
The sample of the study comprised 642 college students who were
randomly chosen from different strata of the population. The study
covered the three district areas, namely Nellai Kattabomman, V.O.
Chidambaranar and Kanyakumari. The sample included in the study
had the following stratifications: male/female; Arts/Science; under-
graduate/post-graduate; and rural/urban.
The investigator used the Multi-Dimensional Personality In-
ventory prepared and standardised by Agarwal (1979). It mea-
sures six dimensions of the personality. These dimensions are:
extroversion/ introversion, self-concept, independence, tempera-
ment, adjustment and anxiety. Each one has been considered as a
form of psychological make-up of the individuals under investi-
gation.
The scores for academic achievement was obtained from the uni-
versity examination marks. These marks were changed into standard
scores before computation.
The scores obtained by students on the personality test and aca-
demic achievement were subjected to the statistical analysis for test-
ing the stated hypotheses. The statistical techniques used to test the
hypotheses were percentage analysis, 't' test, point biserial correla-
tion, and tetra choric correlation.

Academic Achievement of the Scheduled Caste College Students... 545
RESULTS
Findings Related to Academic Achievement
The SC college students of the MSU are found to be above average
(67 per cent) in their academic achievement. The SC students study-
ing in colleges affiliated to the MSU, irrespective of their gender dif-
ference (males 69 per cent; females 63 per cent), nature of course of
study (Arts 67 per cent; Science 66 per cent), level of course of study
(undergraduate 67 per cent, post-graduate 75 per cent), and urban-ru-
ral living (rural 67 per cent; urban 69 per cent), show above average
levels of academic achievement.
Findings Related to the Nature of Psychological Characteristics
1. Extroversion/Introversion: The SC college students studying
in college affiliated to the MSU, irrespective of their gender
difference, nature of the course of study, level of the study, and
urban-rural living are predominantly introverts.
2. Self-Concept: The SC college students of the MSU, except
those studying in post-graduate courses manifest high
self-concept.
3. Independence/Dependence: The SC students, irrespective of
their gender difference, nature of course of study, level of the
course of the study and rural-urban living, manifest higher
level of independence.
4. Temperament: The SC students irrespective of their gender
difference, nature of the course of study, level of the course of
study and rural-urban living, manifest good temperament.
5. Adjustment: The SC students irrespective of their background
variables are good in adjustment.
6. Anxiety: All the categories of the SC students studying in the
colleges affiliated to the M.S. University except the males and
those studying in the PG courses possess high anxiety.
Findings Related to Academic Achievement and Background
Variables
The academic achievement of the male SC students of the MSU is
found to be significantly higher than that of the female students. Simi-
larly, the academic achievement of the SC college students studying
Arts subjects is found to be significantly higher than that of the Sci-
ence SC college students. Likewise, the academic achievement of the

546 G. Rita Goretti Lourdes
post-graduate SC college students is found to be significantly higher
than that of the under-graduate SC college students. The academic
achievement of the urban SC students is found to be significantly
higher than that of the rural SC students.
Findings Related to the Correlation between the Academic
Achievement and Background Factors
Gender is found to be a significant correlate of the academic achieve-
ment of the SC college students of the MSU. Similarly, the course of
study (under-graduate/post-graduate) is found to be a significant cor-
relate of the academic achievement of the SC college students.
However, the subject of study (Arts/Science) and the locality
(rural/urban) are not found to be significant correlates of academic
achievement.
Findings Related to Academic Achievement and Psychological
Characteristics with Regard to Background Variables
The psychological characteristic — extroversion/introversion — is a
significant correlate of the academic achievement of the following
categories of SC students: male students, students of Science courses,
and undergraduate students.
The psychological characteristic — self-concept — is a significant
correlate of the academic achievement of female students, Science
students, undergraduate students and the rural students.
The psychological characteristic — independence — is not a sig-
nificant correlate of the academic achievement of the SC students
categorised on the basis of the background characteristics.
The psychological characteristic — adjustment — is not found to
be a significant correlate of academic achievement, except for that of
female students.
The psychological characteristic — anxiety — is a significant cor-
relate of the academic achievement of the female students, Science
students and undergraduate students only.
DISCUSSION
The finding of a somewhat good academic achievement of the SC col-
lege students of the MSU is a socially encouraging one. It shows that
they have started shaking off the shackles of their deprivation. The
finding indicates that changes in the non-cognitive characteristics
may have contributed to the favourable academic achievement of the

Academic Achievement of the Scheduled Caste College Students... 547
SC students. Moreover, the financial assistance given to them in the
form of scholarships, freeships, hostel facilities and reservations may
have facilitated their educational advancement. Therefore, it may be
concluded that the removal of handicaps in any form will enable them
to adequately cope with the present educational demands.
Though the finding related to the academic achievement of the SC
college students of the total sample indicates that these students be-
long to the above average categories, there are variations in their aca-
demic achievement with regard to background factors. Contrary to
the current records of the academic achievement of male and female
students of TAMIL NADU at all levels, male SC college students
have registered a higher level of academic achievement than the fe-
male SC college students. This may be due to the differences in their
academic pursuits. Though the male and the female SC college stu-
dents stand an equal chance of benefiting from the various uplifting
efforts made by the government and other agencies, in the utilisation
of chances the male students seem to be dominating over the female
students. Moreover, non-academic tasks at home, cultural inhibitions
and familial discouragement may be having an adverse effect on the
performance of the female SC students. This finding is contradictory
to the finding of Rangari (1981).
Another rather strange finding is the not so good academic perfor-
mance of the SC students pursuing Science courses. The SC Arts stu-
dents having limited their ambition, perhaps achieved a confidence in
their ability to realise it and consequently performed better than the
SC Science students. On the other hand, it may be interpreted that the
SC Science students may be feeling all along that they had bitten more
than they could chew.
The post-graduate SC college students have shown a higher-level
achievement than the under-graduate SC students. This may be the re-
sult of their inherent mental calibre coming out rather late and their
acquired ambition. Students of urban areas have been found to have
scored better in academic achievement than the students of rural ar-
eas. Though the rural students, who were a part of the subject of this
study, spoke of financial support for their college education, the ne-
cessity to perform domestic chores, a non-intellectual home atmo-
sphere, and an atmosphere of want have perhaps prevented them from
aiming at the maximum academic standard fixed mostly by an upper
caste elite. The findings of the present study in this matter is similar to
those of Misra (1986), Pandey (1981) and Puri (1984).

548 G. Rita Goretti Lourdes
On combining the findings related to difference in achievement
due to background factors and the correlative background factors, it
may be inferred that in the case of the males, the chances of scoring
high in academic achievement are greater than those of the females as
in the case of post-graduates over the under-graduates. But in the case
of the subject of study (Arts and Science) and locality (rural and ur-
ban), such a strong relationship is not observed, though mean differ-
ences are noted between the two groups.
As far as the findings related to psychological characteristics are
concerned the following interpretations could be given. The SC col-
lege students are predominantly introverts. Bhagoliwal (1985), Das
(1973) and Verma (1986) have arrived at the same finding. In this
study, it was found that extroversion/introversion is positively associ-
ated with high achievement. It has been well established that stable in-
troverts are good achievers. Entwistle (1972), Entwistle and Brennan
(1971) and Lavin (1965) were also of this view. It is probable that the
SC college students were able to achieve higher chiefly because of their
introvert nature.
By juxtaposing the finding with the predominance of introversion
in the case of the SC college students, it may be concluded that by vir-
tue of being introverts, male SC students, the SC students of the Sci-
ence courses and under-graduate SC students may stand a better
chance of being high achievers than the female or Arts, post-graduate
or the rural or urban SC college students.
The SC college students of the different categories (except the
post-graduate) students seem to possess high self-concept. This find-
ing is contradictory to the generally accepted thesis that a child born
in a SC family, is convinced very early in life that whatever be his/her
efforts, achievement and academic achievement, his position in the
rigid Hindu hierarchical society cannot be changed.
Again, it has been found that self-concept is a significant correlate
of academic achievement (in the case of females, Science, undergrad-
uate and the rural SC students). This finding is supported by Pratibha
and Bullar (1974) and Saraswati and Gaur (1979). In the present
study, respondents with high self-concept scored higher in academic
achievement than those with low self-concept. It is in a way different
from the findings of Pratibha and Sharma (1970).
Another interesting finding of the study is that the SC college stu-
dents are found to be high in independence. They have happily come
to possess this important characteristic, found usually in the

Academic Achievement of the Scheduled Caste College Students... 549
privileged ones. This finding is contradictory to the findings of Verma
and Sheikh (1992). However, it is in agreement with the findings of
Rath and Misra (1974) and Tiku (1990).
Independence is not found to be a significant correlate of the aca-
demic achievement of the SC college students. This means, that the
SC students, whether they belong to the high independence or the
low independence category, do not differ from one another in aca-
demic achievement. It is contradictory to the finding of Robers
(1962).
In the case of temperament of the sample, the SC students are
found have a good temperament. This may, probably, be one of the
reasons for their academic success. The present finding is in agree-
ment with the findings of Gupta (1978), Mishra (1985) and Sujatha
and Yeshodhara (1986). Again, temperament is found to be a signifi-
cant correlate of the academic achievement of the SC college stu-
dents. In the present study, respondents with good temperament
scored better than respondents with bad temperament.
When the correlation between academic achievement and temper-
ament with regard to background factors is computed, it is found that
there is significant correlation in the case of the male, Science, under-
graduate and urban SC students, which means that in the case of the
above mentioned categories, the above-average level of academic
achievement may be due to the psychological characteristic tempera-
ment. The other categories of SC students (female, Arts,
post-graduate and rural) may not have gained much because of their
good temperament.
Another notable feature of the SC college students is that they are
good in adjustment, an important constituent of a balanced personal-
ity. The present study reveals that deprivation does not have any influ-
ence over the adjustment behaviour of SC college students. Probably,
this is one of the contributors for the above- average level of their aca-
demic achievement. This finding is corroborated by Choksi (1975),
Sharma (1979) and Singh (1982), but is contradictory to the findings
of Aggarwal (1970), Kamlesh (1981), Sen (1982), Sharma (1982) and
Shiv Shankara (1981). Again, adjustment is not found to be a signifi-
cant correlate of the academic achievement of the SC college stu-
dents, except in the case of female students. This means that there may
not be a significant difference in the academic achievement between
the two groups of respondents, namely with good adjustment and
those with poor adjustment. But in the case of the female students

550 G. Rita Goretti Lourdes
alone, adjustment is found to be highly useful in promoting their aca-
demic achievement.
As far as anxiety is concerned, SC students belong to the high anxi-
ety level. Again, there are variations in the level of anxiety of SC stu-
dents when their background factors are taken into consideration.
Male students experience low level of anxiety and female students ex-
perience high level of anxiety; undergraduate students experience
high level of anxiety while the post-graduate students experience low
level of anxiety. To some extent it explains the reasons for the differ-
ence in academic achievement.
It has also been found that anxiety is a significant correlate of aca-
demic achievement. Contrary to our expectation, it has been found
from the present study that SC students with high anxiety scored
better in academic achievement than students with low anxiety.
When the correlation between academic achievement and anxiety
with regard to background factors is studied, it is found that there is
significant correlation in the case of female, Science and un-
der-graduate SC students only. Though it seems to explain the differ-
ence between the male and the female, the Arts and the Science and
the under-graduate and post-graduate in academic achievement, it has
led to an inexplicable finding with regard to rural and urban students,
that is, the difference in the academic achievement of rural and urban
students is not due to their level of anxiety.
CONCLUSION
The SC college students of the MSU have reached an appreciable
level of educational attainment. It is an encouraging phenomenon in
view of the fact that their communities form the majority of the popu-
lation of the three districts covered by the University. Moreover, these
students are found to have freed themselves from psychological de-
privation in as much as they have come to possess psychological traits
like good temperament, good adjustment, high self-concept and high
level of independence. This again is an encouraging achievement.
Fortunately, through their good temperament and good adjust-
ment, the SC students have shown that they are happy about, if not en-
thusiastic about, the chances of socially integrating themselves with
their erstwhile exploiters. Residence with non-SC students in hostels
has to a large extent made this possible by at least driving the feeling
of isolation into their subconscious, to die there, let us hope, in course
of time.

Academic Achievement of the Scheduled Caste College Students... 551
One major problem of the SC college students on the psychologi-
cal plane is their high anxiety levels. This problem is not easy to
tackle. Research must be undertaken to find out its magnitude and
probable reasons for it. One fair guess for its presence is their educa-
tionally and socially poor community background. Fear of disrespect
and contempt from more fortunate sections of the student community;
fear that given their poor background, they may not be able to com-
pete successfully with the more fortunate ones; and fear that if they.
fail in their educational career, their future may be gloomy may cause
high anxiety.
Such an explanation certainly implies the urgent need for fulfilling
the requirements of the SC college students at this juncture. The factor
responsible for such a negative reaction in individuals may also be the
question of means for employments available through education.
Since the present day college education does not guarantee a job, the
higher education (which the SC college students are pursuing with
very great difficulty) may in itself be a cause for anxiety. Therefore,
the government and the other agencies should strive to provide them
with necessary facilities to prepare themselves for a job or a career in
the course of their study itself.
The design and application of effective preventive interventions
depend, to a large extent, on empirical findings. The investigator be-
lieves the present study and its major findings will serve as foundation
material for further research on this subject.
REFERENCES
Rani, M. and
Multi-Dimensional Personality Inventory, Agra: Agra
Agarwal K.M.
Psychological Research Cell.
1979
Verma, B.P. and
Learning Styles of Advantaged and Disadvantaged Stu-
Sheikh, G.Q.
dents, Indian Journal of Psychology and Education,
1992
23(2), 158-170.
THE INDIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WORK, Volume 63, Issue 4, October 2002