Tramaine Watts


Education: Bachelor of Science in business management (December 2003)

McNair Project: Examining Teaching Effectiveness and Student Personality (2001)

Mentor: Brian Niehoff, Ph.D.

The purpose of the study was to test the hypothesis that the preference for effective teaching varies based on the personality of the student. The study utilized the "Big Five" factors model of personality (McCrae and Costa, 1987), which are extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. These five factors were hypothesized to be correlated with the importance students placed on six dimensions of effective teaching, including approachability, clarity, depth, interaction, interest, and organization. A sample of 200 undergraduate and graduate students completed a three-part survey including the Big Five Inventory (BFI) developed by John and Srivastava (1999), six dimensions of effective teaching, and demographic information. Results showed that: (1) extraverted students showed a higher preference for interaction, (2) agreeable students showed a higher preference for less organization, (3) conscientious students preferred organization and approachability, and (4) openness correlated with a preference for clarity, depth, and less organization. No teaching preference emerged for neuroticism.