The role that emotional intelligence plays in facilitating academic achievement
The purpose of this study is to draw links between
emotional intelligence its role in academic success. This study seeks to answer
the research question; does emotional intelligence play a role in facilitating
academic achievement? The goal is to explore theories across various literature
and determine whether or not emotional intelligence is the facilitator or not
and to also identify other factors that do affect academic achievement if
emotional intelligence is not the sole determinant.
The role that emotional intelligence plays in facilitating academic achievement
In order to improve overall academic achievement, many
studies and assessments have taken place to determine if emotional intelligence
may be a facilitating factor in doing so. Although the literature does present
a wide variety of theories, this review aims to define emotional intelligence, how
emotional intelligence is measured, coping mechanisms it provides for all
academics across all backgrounds and how it was integrated into various
teaching curriculum in an attempt to measure its effects on academic
Emotional intelligence (EI) can be described by the
quality that allows us to manage interpersonal relationships with patience,
insight and creativeness. To measure emotional intelligence, Mayer’s
hierarchical model was consulted. Mayer, Caruso & Salovey’s (2000) studies
states that within EI there exists four branches; emotional perception,
emotional facilitation of thought, emotional understand and emotional
management. Mayer et al utilized two methods to assess EI. The first is the
Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence test which assesses maximum
performance levels of individuals and measures ability EI and the second test
relies on Likert type ratings to measure trait EI.
It was quickly discovered that using both of these
methods together to measure EI would lead to validity issues in research which
lead to MacCann, Fogarty, Zeidner & Roberts (2011) preferred to use rating
scales as they measure the self-perception of one’s emotional skills rather
than the skills themselves. Salovey, Bedell, Detweiller, & Mayer (2000) theorised
that individuals with high EI would have an easier time coping with stress as
they are able to better perceive, understand and manage their own along with
other people’s emotions. Not every student will have a positive experience in
an educational institution, the ones with higher EI and coping mechanisms would
be able to recover quicker than the ones that do not. Jaegar and Eagan (2007)
conducted a study on 3500 students at a public university and determined that
students who could cope in high pressure environments had an advantage on those
who could not as they were better equipped to control their anxiety during
exams, prioritize tasks and move pass personal crises. Their study further
strengthens the point that individuals with higher EI would tend to adapt to
various situations which may lead to positive academic achievement.
Further study claim that students’ emotional ability
can play a huge factor in social interaction. Positive expression of emotional
tend to be well received and garner adaptive feedback and responses from others
whereas the negative emotions will receive the opposite Argyle and Lu (1990).
This means that higher levels of EI can help predict the academic grades via
the ability to cope with assessments and evaluations. Fernandes and Rego (2004)
found that EI plays a huge role in determining a student’s satisfaction, health
and academic achievement. Higher levels of EI facility a student’s ability to
transition from high school to university and then eventually from university
to the workforce.
A person’s IQ can be used as a determining factor and
associated with academic achievement according to Mohzan, Hassan, & Halil
(2013). They also reveal a variety of factors including social economic status,
motivation, peer-relationships, teacher-student relationships and personality
should also be taken into account as they can affect a person’s IQ. Not only
does emotional help individuals cope in stressful environments but it also
contributes to being a team player and improve organisational skills. Goleman
(1995) states that IQ merely contributes to 20% of an individual’s success.
This hints that although it is a good starting indicator there are more factors
such as the ones mentioned above that play a role in facilitating academic
Nasir and Masur (2010) point out that a student’s
effective learning only occurs when they have developed an understanding of how
to learn which requires self-confidence, self-control and the ability to interact
with their peers. Their study also deduced that EI can also assist in
predicting academic achievement among the 132 students who participated in the
assessment at the International Islamic University. Another investigation
performed by Rozell, Pettijohn, & Parker (2002) determined that a strong
link existed between EI and academic achievement amongst the students at Mid-Western
University in America. Students with a higher EI tended to have a higher GPA
compared to those that had a low EI. These two studies mentioned above suggest
that having a high EI may lead to better academic achievement regardless of
culture or country of origin.
Joyner and Mann (2011) conducted a study which aimed
to developing EI skills for MBA students. Their goal was to determine if
changing to a specific program would lead to positive changes in students’ EI.
This program implemented EI related content across all curriculums of the three
year course. This study revealed major enhancements in the emotional and social
functioning of its participants. These results suggest that if EI was to be
taught alongside an institute’s curriculum, it can expect its students to
On the other side of the spectrum, O’Connor Jr. and
Little’s (2003) investigation revealed that EI is not a strong indicator of
academic achievement. Their studied was performed on 138 college students. Each
student was subject to an emotional intelligence scale test based on both
self-report and skill. The study determined that regardless of the scale used
to measure the students’ EI, women tend to score higher than their male
counterparts however there was no significant difference in their GPA. Domitrovich, Cortes, and Greenberg
(2007) adopted the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies curriculum
(PATHS) where they encourage teachers to apply the PATHS lessons within their
classrooms over the span of 9 months. Their goal was to improve their students’
ability in concentration, inhibitory control, problem solving and emotional
awareness. To assess the before and after results, home visits, questionnaires
and family demographics were recorded. The final results concluded that there
was a definite improvement in emotional awareness and the students were less
likely to misidentify facial expressions compared to the control group that did
not receive the PATHS curriculum. However the other three areas; concentration,
inhibitory control and problem solving showed no significant changes.
From this literature review, it can be seen that there
are studies that both support and deny that EI facilitates academic achievement
however it can be agreed upon that possessing a high EI is advantageous but it
is not the sole determining variable in facilitating academic achievement.
Other factors such as social economic status, motivation, peer relationships
must be taken into account. However we can reaffirm that EI does assist in
coping in stressful situations such as exams and assignment deadlines which are
a few of the many ways academic institutes choose to measure their students’
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