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versión On-line ISSN 1668-7027


CERDA, Cristian; SAIZ, José L.  y  VERGARA, Dante. Grit in Chilean university students: An initial study of its structure and nomological network. Interdisciplinaria [online]. 2018, vol.35, n.2, pp.409-423. ISSN 1668-7027.

Traditionally, academic performance has been linked to intelligence and some other student´s cognitive abilities. However, in recent 4 years we have witnessed a growing interest in expanding this view by investigating the role that other non-cognitive skills, such as tenacity, may play in academic achievement. Grit can conceptually be conceived as perseverance and passion aimed at achieving long-term goals. A review of the literature shows that grit does not appear to be configured, as some authors claim, as a hierarchical structure with a general second-order construct and two first-order facets (perseverance of effort and consistency of interest). The literature also points out that grit is only a modest predictor of academic performance and that it presents a slightly positive correlation with age and a very weak one with sex and the students' number of years in an academic program. While research on grit has not yet generated any definitive conclusions, it must be considered that it has not included Latin American populations. Given this scenario, this initial study aimed to examine in mathematics teacher Chilean students (1) the internal structure of grit and (2) their position in a nomological network integrated by academic achievement, sex, age and years enrolled in the program. Participants consisted in the total population (n = 153) of students enrolled in a mathematics teacher program at Universidad de La Frontera, a public institution located in the Central-South area from Chile. The program was selected because it presents a high level of difficulty to its students and because it includes highly formalized tasks, as part of its disciplinary courses. Participants responded the Short Grit Scale (Grit-S) and a demographic questionnaire. In this study, Grit-Swas previously translated and adapted into Spanish from the original English version. Grit-Scontains eight items intended to measure the two facets of grit. Exploratory factorial analysis revealed that, after excluding two items due to low factor loadings (items No. 1 and 2), grit presented a one-dimensional configuration, with an adequate internal consistency (ordinal Alpha: .80). A positive linear correlation, although marginally significant, was obtained between grit and academic achievement, r(143)= .12, p =.069, d = .24. However, a planned contrast revealed that a nonlinear relationship, similar to a hyperbolic curve, better explains the link between these two variables. Specifically, this analysis showed that students in the upper grit quintile obtained a significantly higher grade point average than the combined grade point average of the remaining grit quintiles, t(138) =1.87, p = .032, d = .32. This result suggests that academic achievement remains reduced when grit level is low or moderate and only increases when grit level is high. A multiple regression analysis indicated that sex, age and number of years in the program account for 12.6% of grit variance, F(3, 149) = 7.15, p < .001, d = .76. Sex significantly contributed to the prediction (β =.198, p = .011, d = .38) with women, (M = 3.77,dt = .61) reporting higher levels of grit than men (M = 3.53, dt = .69). Whereas age did not significantly contribute to the prediction (β =.102, p = .206), the number of years in the program showed a significant direct association with grit (β = .261, p = .001, d = .60. Due to the originality of these findings, most differing from those reported in the literature, this study offers tentative explanations that future research could use to formulate and empirically test new hypotheses using, hopefully, a confirmatory approach. These possible explanations mainly refer to the participants' previous level of mathematic mastery and/or the level of difficulty demanded by the educational program.

Palabras clave : Non-cognitive factors; Grit; Factorial structure; Academic achievement; Mathematics teacher students.

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