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Skills to succeed: a questionnaire developed to measure self-advocacy skills before and after intervention in university students




Mohar, Jayne Gonda, author
Schelly, Catherine, advisor
Davies, Patricia, advisor
DiGregorio, Gaye, committee member
Kuk, Linda, committee member

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Objective. Diversity of learners attending post-secondary education is increasing, but students from diverse backgrounds including racial/ethnic minorities, first-generation college students, and students with disabilities continue to graduate at lower rates than their peers. Non-academic skills are an important part of student success in postsecondary education, and self-advocacy is a piece of a non-academic skill set that can lead to greater student retention and increased graduation rates. The purpose of this study was to develop a questionnaire to measure self-advocacy skills in university students and to determine the effectiveness of a self-advocacy intervention. Method: A quasi-experimental, mixed design study was used to determine the quality of a questionnaire to identify self-advocacy skills in college sophomores and the effectiveness of the questionnaire to measure the improvement of self-advocacy skills alter receiving a self-advocacy intervention. A diverse group of 36 students in a Learning Community at Colorado State University were given a questionnaire before the start of fall semester 2009. Students received a self-advocacy intervention to target areas of lower performance based on the pre-intervention questionnaire results and were given a follow-up survey at the end of fall semester. Results: Descriptive statistics indicated that half of the 30 Likert scale questions on the self-advocacy questionnaire did not have ceiling effects. Paired r-tests revealed a significant increase in one self-advocacy area and a decrease in two self-advocacy skill areas. When racial/ethnic groups, first-generation students, and students with disabilities were compared, differences were found in how Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino(a) students answered questions regarding self-advocacy skills. Qualitative data analysis further defined sophomore students’ perceived needs and definitions of self-advocacy. Conclusion: Literature supports that sophomore students often report a decrease in self-efficacy related to their academic experience as they measure their ability or chance for academic success. Students reported a need for increasing motivational and academic skills (test taking, studying) as the top areas for needing improvement. In addition to adding control groups, further refinement of the self-advocacy questionnaire and intervention is required in order to effectively measure and target the student identified self-advocacy needs.


2010 Fall.
Includes bibliographic references (pages 37-41).
Covers not scanned.
Print version deaccessioned 2022.

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College students -- Psychology
Counseling in higher education


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