The role of identification, generational status, and COVID-19 in academic success

DeRossett et al. / Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology / August 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted daily life and altered the way people interact with others and the environment. University students in particular report higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress compared to nonstudents. Due to the closure of schools, students have shifted to online distance learning, which may foster feelings of detachment or isolation from their respective schools, ultimately impacting students’ motivation to continue learning in an online context. First-generation college students (FGCS) are less likely to persist from their first to second year in college and tend to have lower first-year grade point averages compared to continuing generation students. Identification with groups and increased sense of belonging may increase student success (e.g., student retention). The present study examined how FGCS differ from continuing generation college students on academic motivation, sense of belonging to their university, self-efficacy, and responses to a wide array of COVID-19 questionnaires in the context of the pandemic. Although the authors found that demographic variables as well as academic and pandemic-related factors predicted academic motivation, self-efficacy, and academic belonging, there were no significant differences for these variables between FGCS and continuing generation college students. These findings suggest that COVID-19 has impacted both groups similarly; however, this could be due to the novelty of the circumstances that COVID-19 placed on all students in higher education (e.g., transitions to remote learning).