Student attitude of 'excessive entitlement' may result in exam failure

May 20, 2013

(Phys.org) —University students who have an exaggerated belief in what they deserve, known as 'excessive entitlement', tend to do worse in their exams than those who take personal responsibility and are internally motivated for success.

Research just published by the University of Otago confirms some educators' claims that their increasingly believe they have a right to success, and that this belief interferes with actually achieving success when they face the challenges of university study.

Lead author Dr Donna Anderson and Professor Jamin Halberstadt, from the Department of Psychology in collaboration with Dr Robert Aitken from the Department of Marketing, examined the entitlement beliefs of almost 300 student volunteers sitting a Marketing and Consumption paper, then used these beliefs to predict their final exam scores at the end of the term.

The results show for the first time that students with a greater of personal entitlement performed worse than their in the final exam, but only when they found the paper more difficult than expected.

"It is interesting, but not surprising, that the negative effect of excessive entitlement on performance was most evident in the context of a challenge," says Dr Anderson.

"Other research supports findings that can vary in strength depending on the level of stress in the environment in which they're measured. This certainly seems to be the case with attitudes of entitlement."

Other factors that predicted exam performance in the study were and internal motivation: students who reported greater responsibility for their own actions, and those who believe that their is in their own hands, obtained higher final exam marks.

The researchers say these factors may explain the entitlement effects, as people who feel excessively entitled tend to believe that other people are responsible for their success or failure, and so are less motivated to put in more effort when required.

Dr Anderson says the study provides practical advice for improving learning outcomes.

"Entitlement attitudes can be altered by shifting students' beliefs about what they can legitimately expect from their learning institutions, and what they need to expect from themselves."

"Such a realistic distinction can easily be taught, when needed, and will better prepare students for the personal resilience required to achieve academic success, which is often undermined by an attitude of excessive entitlement."

This study was funded by the University of Otago and has been published in the International Journal of Higher Education.

Explore further: Why plants in the office make us more productive

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The dangers of 'overparenting'

Mar 20, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Are you that parent who writes your child's essays, cover letters and job applications? Do you call in to encourage employers to give your son or daughter a strong look? If so, you may ...

Recommended for you

Precarious work schedules common among younger workers

Aug 29, 2014

One wish many workers may have this Labor Day is for more control and predictability of their work schedules. A new report finds that unpredictability is widespread in many workers' schedules—one reason ...

Girls got game

Aug 29, 2014

Debi Taylor has worked in everything from construction development to IT, and is well and truly socialised into male-dominated workplaces. So when she found herself the only female in her game development ...

Computer games give a boost to English

Aug 28, 2014

If you want to make a mark in the world of computer games you had better have a good English vocabulary. It has now also been scientifically proven that someone who is good at computer games has a larger ...

Saddam Hussein—a sincere dictator?

Aug 28, 2014

Are political speeches manipulative and strategic? They could be – when politicians say one thing in public, and privately believe something else, political scientists say. Saddam Hussein's legacy of recording private discussions ...

User comments : 0