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02/08/2012

RESEARCH PROPOSAL ON EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND SCHOOL PERFORMANCE


Topic:

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE and SCHOOL PERFORMANCE

Statement of the Research Problem:

       Each day the front page of the newspaper and/or the six o’clock news reminds adults in this nation of the rising emotional turmoil our youth are experiencing. Children are showing their anxiety, anger, and depression in ways that are more violent than ever before in this nation’s history. From shooting their teachers and peers to killing themselves, it is obvious that children are not identifying or dealing with their emotions intelligently.

       Childhood is harder than it used to be. For example, in the last 20 years, the rate of teen homicide has quadrupled and teen suicide tripled, and forcible rape among teens has doubled (O’Neil, 1996). Street gangs substitute for family, and school-yard insults end in stabbing, when more than half of marriages end in divorce, when the majority of the children murdered in this country are killed by parents and stepparents, many of whom say they were trying to discipline the child for behavior like blocking the TV or crying too much, it suggests a demand for remedial emotional education. Children must be taught EQ skills while they are still young, Goleman argues, because there is a “neurological window of opportunity” since the brain’s prefrontal circuitry, which regulates how we act on what we feel, probably does not mature until mid-adolescence (Gibbs, 1995).

       Research indicates that, at most, IQ contributes about 20 percent to the factors that determine success - leaving 80 percent to other forces. These other forces make up what is called “emotional intelligence”: abilities such as getting along with others, self-motivation, persistence, controlling impulses, empathizing, and regulating one’s moods are included in ones EQ (Goleman, 1995).

       Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has given educators and parents hope for change in the future, if we can teach children to be more emotionally aware of themselves and others, they may be more capable to change some of the before mentioned, alarming statistics. Emotional Intelligence is a relatively new concept coined by Yale psychologist Dr. Peter Salovey and John Mayer from the University of New Hampshire and taken to the national market by Dr. Daniel Goleman, a psychologist from Harvard University. The concept was taken to the rest of the world through Dr. Goleman’s book titles “Emotional Intelligence

       The significance of EQ is the emotional lessons learned in infancy through the amygdala come before we have a way to assign value to them through the neocortex. The result is that emotional messages sent by the amygdala may be flawed, and the problem is that in an emergency the amygdala can act faster than the neocortex and override the “feeling function” with irrational, inappropriate emotions. Dan Goleman presents study after study that concludes that the “feeling function” can be educated, enhancing emotional intelligence. As the power of the “feeling function” are cultivated through formal training, the less likely the amygdala can enact an emotional hijacking when a true emergency does not exist. The neocortex does not fully develop until between the ages of 16 and 18, meaning that the lessons of emotional management taught to children can shape and enhance the developing neural circuitry (Jorgensen, 1996).

       This study proposes to investigate E.Q. levels of Jr/Sr High school students (ages12-19) and correlate them to school performance. School performance factors will include grades, achievement levels, attendance, and discipline. Further investigation will also look at common characteristics indicated by those students having significantly high or significantly low E.Q. levels. This investigation will be done through a series of interviews given by the researcher to students, parents, and teachers. The researcher will design the interview questions.

       My expectations are that there will be a positive correlation between E.Q. levels and school performance. School performance is not to be confused with intelligence quotient (I.Q.).

       The purpose of this study is to recognize the importance of emotional development and its direct connection to schooling. I hope that the results of this study will be significant enough that parents and educational professionals will view emotional instruction as a part of a shared responsibility and that schools district personnel can play a vital role in the development of emotional intelligence. Further, I hope this study will indicate the importance of Emotional Intelligence and its relationship to school performance.

Research Questions:

Is there a relationship between a child’s emotional intelligence (EQ) and a child’s school performance?

Sub-questions:

1.       Is there a statistical difference between the emotional intelligence of

      males and females?

2.       What, if any, are the common characteristics seen among students who receive

significantly high or significantly low scores on the EQ assessment tool.

3.   is EQ development consistent or are emotional “spurts” indicated?

4.       Is there a connection between a child’s EQ and selected curriculum and future

      plans?

5.     Is there a relationship between EQ, attendance, and/or discipline?

JUSTIFICATION:

       The following are five aspects that make emotional intelligence an interesting area of research for me:

1. The social/emotional domain has been one that has been ignored by the professional educators for years, as recognized by social and psychological researchers; children are having more and more difficulty dealing with their emotions. New E.Q. research indicated it can be formally instructed by educators.

2. Current emotional and brain research has indicated that Intelligence Quotient  (I.Q.) has only a 20% effect on success in life. It is suggested that the remaining 80% of success in life rely on behaviors and actions related to an Emotional Quotient (E.Q.). This makes it worth further investigation.

3. I am interested in looking at the similarities that students have who score high on the E.Q. evaluation. With this information, perhaps we can build curriculum opportunities that will increase the chance for all students to be successful in school, in relationships, and in life.

4.     I have always advocated the “whole” child and that a child’s mind can not be separated from their body. I hope this research will show a need for educators to become a part in student’s emotional development, so students are able to acquire cognitive knowledge. This knowledge should help bridge the gap between cognitive development and emotional development (mind/body connection).

5.     My personal experience as a school psychologist has given me the opportunity of observing and evaluating students’ emotional health and cognitive development. It is common to see students not achieving to their ability level. Educators need to be concerned with this phenomenon and determine why students are not learning to their fullest potential and do what can be done to change that. Our goal as educators should be to assure that all children learn to their fullest potential.

Further Justification for the study:

The Big Problem:

       Working as a school psychologist, I was expected to think of a child’s intelligence in a very narrow way. I had repeatedly seen children with very high IQ’s perform poorly in school as well as those with average IQ outshine the “gifted” time and time again. I have always believed that it was the way the child felt about doing something that lead to success more so than what the child knew about the subject. Therefore, Dan Goleman’s view of “Emotional Intelligence” interests me and I feel a need to assist in proving the notion that ”Emotional Intelligence” is the strongest indicator of human success. In finding a relationship between “Emotional Intelligence” and school performance I believe it will take myself, and those who believe like me, one step closer to showing the public that children need to share, understand and have the ability to express emotions to be truly successful. Furthermore, those student who do have the ability to identify, understand and share emotions (high EQ) are more successful students, adults and human beings in general.

       Our society is faced with a serious dilemma. The deterioration of the moral and ethical development of our youth is seen each day in the news. Teen suicide and homicide is up at alarming rates. The divorce rate of newlyweds is at 67%. Violence among our youth is commonplace. We must do something to understand how these children are feeling and help them deal with their feeling in a more positive way!

Youth in America are out of control. Violence is up, depression is up, suicide is up, homicide is up, and kids are just not as happy as they used to be.

        New brain research has given hope to those who thought our intelligence and emotional map was set at age five. New research has indicated that we can develop emotionally and that it can be further developed by instruction. My aim is to reinforce these beliefs and to make public educators aware of the fact that they can play an intrugal part in the emotional development of children.

The Gap in Understanding:

       The gap, as I see it, is between what teachers believe children need to learn in school and what is most beneficial for the child. I believe it is time for schools to see their role as somewhat larger and take some responsibility for the development of our children as responsible human beings. Children need to be educated more holistically and consider social/emotional aspects of the child as more important than we have in the past.

Most educators fail to see the connection between a child’s emotional state and his/her academic performance. Although eastern cultures recognize the mind/body connection, the Western world has limited the developmental potential of our children by not recognizing the integrated connection. I hope to show the importance of recognizing the mind/body connection with this study.

General Design of the Study:

       The study will correlate the Emotional Quotients of adolescent age school students to various indicators of school success including grades, ability, achievement levels, attendance, and discipline.

       The EQ assessment tool will indicate the child’s level of “emotional smarts” as defined in the model designed by Dr. June Donaldson. EQ levels will then be correlated to the school performance factors indicated above. The school performance factors are available to the researcher through school records. The data collected will be correlated by single and multivariable analysis. Spearman rank correlation and Kendall correlation will also be used when more than one variable is being correlated.

Characteristics of Study Population

1.      School age population – ages 12 through 18

2.      The students currently attend a small rural high school in northwestern

         Pennsylvania.

3.     Both male and female subjects will be evaluated

Available Data:

1. EQ levels will be determined through psychometric means. The Emotional

SMARTS Questionnaire (ESQ) will be used to determine level.

2. Grades will be used and taken from teacher’s reports and/or computer database information.

3.  Ability, achievement, and proficiency scores will be used from the student’s file.

4.     Attendance will be used from attendance records compiled in the office.

5.      School discipline will be used and taken from the student discipline records.

(STUDENT RECORDS WILL NOT BE USED WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM STUDENT/PARENT)

 

Data to be collected for study:
 

Questions       Instrument(s)              Parametric/Non-Parametric         Stat Test

 

#1                    ESQ and Sex                       Parametric                                         Single-Variable

                                                                                                                        Correlation

 

#2                    ESQ and survey                 Parametric and Non-Parametric      Multi-Variable

                                                                                                                        Correlation

 

#3                    ESQ and age, sex, etc.         Parametric and Non-Parametric         Spearman-Rank

                                                                                                                                                                Correlation

 

#4                    ESQ and survey    Parametric and Non-Parametric         Single- Variable

                                (curriculum choice)                                                                            Correlation                                                                                                                                                

#5                    ESQ and attendance,          Parametric and Non-Parametric         Kendall

                                discipline, sex, age,                                                                                          Coefficient of

                                                                                                                                                            Concordance

 

Directional Hypothesis                                                       Anticipated Conclusion

 

Those with higher EQ levels will have higher school performance.

 

Those with higher EQ levels will be more involved with organized school activities.

Those with higher EQ levels will have fewer discipline problems.

Those with higher EQ levels will have better attendance.

Those with higher EQ levels will have higher grade point averages.

There will not be a significant correlation between EQ and ability levels.

There will not be a significant correlation between EQ and standardized achievement scores.

Salient Variables:

 

1. Emotional Intelligence Variables:

 

Awareness

            Emotional Self-awareness

                        Emotional management                     

Assertiveness

                        Self-actualization

                        Optimism

            Behavioral

                        Independence

                        Stress management

                        Impulse control

                        Conflict management

Control

                        Relationship Building

                        Empathy

                        Social Responsibility

            Decision-Making

                        Problem solving

                        Creativity

                        Selecting Solutions

                        Reality Testing

2. School Performance Variables

            Grades

                        A: 4.0-3.0

                        B: 3.0-2.0

                        C: 2.0-1.0

                        D: 1.0- 0

                        E: 0

            Achievement

                        State Assessment Tests

                        Standardized achievement tests

            Attendance

                        # of tardiness

                        # of excused absences

                        # of unexcused absences

            Behavior

                        # of teacher detentions

                        # of office detentions

                        # of in-school suspensions

                        # of out-of-school suspensions

3. Demographic Variables

            Sex

                        Male

                        Female

            Age

                        12-13

                        14-15

                        16-17

                        18-19

           

       Since E.Q. is a relatively new concept, there is not at this time an assessment tool that is accepted by research professionals as valid. In an attempt to conduct my research, the E.Q. assessment I use will further be validated. If this process is not possible than I plan to use standardized emotional assessment tools and extract the EQ characteristics.

       I am in the process of developing a partnership with Smart Assessments, Inc. where the Emotional SMARTS assessment tool I plan to use was developed. Dr. June Donaldson and Gerald J. Durocher, research psychologist from Ontario, Canada worked together to develop the tool.

       The Emotional SMARTS Questionnaire (ESQ) is a psychometric assessment tool designed to measure the Emotional SMARTS Model of Dr. June Donaldson. It consists of 313 items scaled in both positive and negative directions to reduce response bias. Reliability analysis yielded moderately high and very high magnitudes of internal consistency indicating very good dimensionality among both item subscales and subscale composites. Descriptive validity was demonstrated using well-known test subjects who displayed expected areas of improvement and areas of strengths. Ongoing validation studies are currently being conducted to further the predictive validity of the ESQ. This will also be a further purpose of my study.

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