Following an introduction to the study and the solicitation of informed consent from participants, the pre-study instrument was provided to students in early September. Students completed the survey during a regular class period.
The evaluations were graded as follows:
- The BFI and ILS scores were calculated using the algorithms provided by their developers and authors.
- A time management scale was calculated from the first 11 time management questions by scoring each Likert item from 1 to 5. Questions numbered 2, 3, 7, 9 and 10 were reverse scored. The total of these values was then divided by the number of questions answered to provide an index against which to compare student responses.
- Time estimates for each recreational activity were created from questions 12-22 of the time management questions using the median value for each time interval’s range. Since the 6th choice has no maximum value, it was arbitrarily assigned a value of 20 hours for this calculation. For example, if a student chose the 4th option, “More than 5 hours and up to 10 hours”, that activity was given a value of 7.5 hours for that student. The total of all these values for each student was calculated as the total recreation time for the student.
- Each logical problem question was evaluated on a scale of 0 to 1.
- For scoring purposes, questions 1 and 8 were counted as a single question and justified by the principle that if a participant is going to choose that 1/3 of a population will live, then he or she must also be prepared to accept that 2/3 will die; or conversely if the student wants to play the odds that there is a one in three chance that everyone will be saved, then he or she must also accept that there is a two in three chance that no one will be saved.
- Problem 6 was scored so that each card was worth one quarter of the entire question. A full value of 1 point was earned only if the participant turned over every required card and left all unnecessary cards unturned.
- Problem 12 was similarly scored so that each choice was worth 0.20 of a point. Only by not choosing incorrect choices and choosing the correct choice could a participant earn a full point.
- All other problem solving questions were scored either 0 (if the participant made an incorrect choice) or 1.
As part of their regular course work, students completed three major exams during the semester; these exams and the final exam grade were then compared to the responses from the pre-study survey. Students who dropped the class prior to completing the first exam were excluded from the study. A cumulative performance score composed of the average of all exams completed by a student was also calculated.