The purpose of this dissertation is to evaluate the relationship between student performance and their performance on the Major Field Test (MFT). The MFT purports to adequately assess student mastery and achievement in the college major, in this case psychology. The major advantages of the MFT over internally-created instruments are its standardized content, its established national norms, and its connection to the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The MFT is the most widely used standardized test for learning outcomes assessment within psychology departments. The first hypothesis, that MFT scores are reflective of summary curricular values (i.e. GPA), was not supported when ACT composite scores are regressed out. ACT composite score by itself is predictive of MFT performance which casts doubt on its claim to be reflective of achievement in one’s college program. The results of the second hypothesis, regarding prediction of MFT scores from grades in specific courses within the major, provided positive support for the use of the MFT test. In this second analysis, we found higher multiple R-squared values for predicting MFT scores from specific course grades with R-squared values substantially stronger than the ACT bivariate regression of hypothesis 1. This helps to support the claim that the MFT measures specific achievement within one’s major. The results for the third hypothesis, prediction of MFT from particular mix of courses taken in the major, were somewhat supportive. Prediction of MFT scores was found to be strongest for the subscale area Perception and Physiology, and the strongest predictor of these scores (t value of 3.78) is student completion of the Brain, Behavior, and Cognition course group.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
van der Horst, Jason J., "Patterns of Student Curricular Experience in Psychology as Predictors of Performance on the ETS Major Field Test" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 5278.
psychology, learning outcomes, assessment, curriculum