Academic orientation using self-assessments: Attitude change towards subject of study while conducting an online-self-assessment

Karina Karst, Bernd-Joachim Ertelt, Andreas Frey, Oliver Dickhäuser


During academic orientation, online self-assessments (OSAs) are an important instrument as they provide feedback about a person’s fit regarding a particular study subject. OSAs are supposed to initiate self-selection processes as they are assumed to change study-related attitudes. Using a quasi-experimental design, the present paper investigates the effectiveness of OSAs from the perspective of expectation-value theory (Wigfield & Eccles, 2000) and decision stages (pre-decision-, decision-, and post-decision stage) of academic decision processes (Ertelt & Schulz, 2015). A sample of 119 students, who showed interest in studying Social Sciences (sociology or political science), used the Mannheim Information System for Social Sciences (MISS). Regression analyses revealed that feedback about a discrepancy between a persons’ expectations and actual study demands negatively predicts attitudes (intrinsic value, utility value and expectation of success), while person’s attitudes (decidedness to choice of study and attainment value) is promoted if the person already is in an advanced stage of the decision process (i.e. in the decision or post-decision stage).


Choice of major, Expectancy-value-theory, Online-self-assessment

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Journal for Educational Research Online/Journal für Bildungsforschung Online (ISSN 1866-6671)