Background to the Study
It is expected that the primary motive of any academic task provided to an individual is to enable the individual access effectively and efficiently his/her academic abilities and potentials to produce successful ends. In other words, the goal of an academic task is to build in an individual a strong sense of judgment and responsibility. This has always been the preoccupation of educational psychologists and many stakeholders in educational industry. The reason being that this has more often than not constitutes a hindrance to academic achievement (Watson, 2002).
The focal point in this research work is to provide scientific prove to the notion that there are strong relationships of certain personality variables with students’ academic achievement. Academic achievement is a major issue among students, teachers, parents, school administrators, and the community at large. Attempts have been made by researchers to unravel the complexities surrounding academic achievement. Psychologists have put forward reasons for disparities in achievement emphasising external factors such as type of school, teaching methods, school location, instructional materials, teachers experience, and so on (West African Examination Council, 2005). Many spend lots of money in order to secure good schools either for their children or themselves and those who can afford it even invest on education abroad as they believe this will enhance achievement, and which in turn gives an added advantage in terms of securing gainful future achievement (Woolfolk, 2000). However, in other for individual to secure achievements, there is need for such to put into consideration the place of their personality.
Human personality and achievement are the most important issues of personality and educational psychology. Personality is a multidimensional psychological construct that can influence the way students engage in learning and their academic performance. This is possible because Personality is the sum total of the characteristics that differentiates people, or the stability of a person’s behavior across different situations. In other words it means those qualities the individual is noted for. Agbakwuru (2000), described personality traits as consistent differences between the behaviors characteristic of two or more people. By implication, personality does not only vary from one individual to another, it also, defined a person or gives the total identification of person. Daft, (2005) opines that the five major personality factors include, surgency, agreeableness, adjustment, conscientiousness, or openness to experience. However this study will focus on conscientiousness or counterfactual thinking factors and openness to experience factors.
Openness to experience involves being inventive and curious. It makes a person cautious and conservative. These personality dimensions and the poles of their traits appear as critical considerations for academic achievement. Openness to experience is a measure of depth, breadth and variability in a person’s imagination and urge for experience (Udoudo, 2012). This factor relates to intellect, openness to new ideas, cultural interests, educational aptitudes, and creativity including interest in varied sensory and cognitive experiences. As explained by Howard and Howard (1995) people with high openness to experience have broad interests, are liberal and show great novelty while those with low openness to experience are conventional, conservative and prefer familiarity. The concept of openness to experience involves several levels of bi-polar psychological abilities such as: Down-to-Earth–Imaginative, Uncreative–Creative, Conventional– Original, Prefer routine–prefer variety, Uncurious–curious, Conservation–liberal. More so, McCrae (2004) defined openness factors as experience involves active imagination, aesthetic sensitivity, attentiveness to inner feelings, preference to variety and intellectual curiosity.
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