Correlations Among Perceived Faculty Support, Academic Motivation, Academic Self-Concept, and GPA of BSN Students (RD)

Friday, 20 July 2018: 1:44 PM

Donna M. Keeler, PhD, RN
Helen S. Breidegam School of Nursing, Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA, USA


Educational quality is the hallmark of any prelicensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) education program (Pennington & Spurlock, 2010). Styles of education have changed; nursing education has moved from faculty-centered practices to approaches that are centered on student learning (Valiga, 2012). Most reported studies define "academic success" in terms of grade point average (GPA), retention rates, and NCLEX results. However this study defined "academic success" as a student’s academic motivation, academic self-concept, and grade point average.

The purpose of this descriptive correlational study is to identify prelicensure BSN students’ perceptions of faculty support, and to examine the relationships among prelicensure BSN students’ perception of faculty support, academic motivation, academic self-concept, and GPA. Discovering what prelicensure BSN students perceive as faculty support may guide faculty pedagogy to enhance student-centered teaching and help promote academic success. Developing an understanding of the relationship among academic motivation, academic self-concept, grade point average and the influence that students’ perception of faculty support has on these variables could prove valuable in promoting the academic success of prelicensure BSN students. Personal, behavioral, and environmental factors affect ways in which a student learns. Understanding the importance of being a supportive presence will enable nurse educators to help students become academically successful, engage students in the learning process by motivating students to want to learn, and help students enhance their perceptions of their ability to learn. Understanding the relationship among prelicensure BSN students' perception of faculty support and academic motivation, academic self-concept, and GPA are all vital in supporting and facilitating prelicensure BSN students’ academic success.

The following research question was examined in this study: What are the relationships among prelicensure BSN students’ perceived faculty support, students’ academic motivation, academic self-concept, and grade point average?

Methods: Prelicensure BSN students selected from schools in Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware who were sophomore, junior, and senior level participated in the study (n=221) with an average age of 21 years. Participants completed an online survey that contained a demographic questionnaire, which included student’s self-reported GPA, Shelton’s Perceived Faculty Support Scale (Shelton, 2003), Vallerand’s Academic Motivation Scale (Vallerand et. al, 1992), and the Academic Self-Concept Scale (Reynolds, 1988).


Canonical correlation was used to analyze the relationships among the variables and identified one significant variate with a correlation of .453 (p < .001) accounting for 20% of the variance explained. Canonical loadings were used to determine which variables were related. Students who perceived faculty behaviors as supportive have greater academic motivation, specifically intrinsic motivation - to know (.350) and to experience stimulation (.307), external motivation – identified (.477), academic self-concept, (.767) and GPA (.364). Relationships were found among faculty support, academic motivation, academic self-concept, and GPA. When students’ positively perceived faculty as supportive academic self-concept, academic motivation, and GPA increased.

Additional analysis was performed using One-way ANOVA, or univariate analysis of variance to identify differences among the selected demographic and research variables. No statistically significant difference was found among race, or gender, or on scores of any of the instruments. The one-way ANOVA did identify that there was a difference in academic self-concept among the study participants’ different years in school in a prelicensure BSN program (F[2,218]=5.73, p<.001). The mean of the total ASCS score was: for seniors (n = 83), 53.48, SD 8.35, juniors (n = 60), 49.17, SD 6.91; and sophomores (n = 78) was 51.69, SD7.1. When ASCS was used as the dependent variable, the mean difference in total score of ASCS between seniors and juniors was 4.32, which was significant. There was also a medium effect size of found. Therefore, junior nursing students had significantly lower total ASCS scores than senior nursing students.


To carefully consider academic success for nursing students, the strategies that will make them successful in a program of study and pass the NCLEX-RN must be considered first. Therefore, a broader conceptualization of academic success that includes a student’s academic motivation, what drives the student to learn; academic self-concept, what makes the student have the confidence to learn; and grade point average is suggested based on this study’s results.

Findings from this study indicate faculty support is essential to academic success. There is a direct relationship among prelicensure BSN students perception of faculty support and academic success. Students who perceive their faculty as supportive have higher academic motivation, academic self-concept, and grade point average.