While the stated ultimate goal of education is academic achievement, attainment of that goal remains elusive. Many educators are making choices that increase academic rigor, sometimes at the expense of programs that might be more effective in meeting the achievement goal. Correlations between factors that possibly relate to academic achievement, such as emotional intelligence, could at least initiate a discussion about attaining the objective of substantial academic achievement through avenues other than repeated classes of the subject matter.
Much controversy exists in education regarding the balance of intelligence quotient (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ). That is, an intense debate persists in secondary education over the importance of learning to read, write, master the sciences and social sciences, and solve mathematical equations versus the importance of adapting to the environment, working cooperatively, responsibly, effectively, and with confidence and passion (Goleman, 1998). Students who are weak in adaptability, assertiveness, decisiveness, empathy, or commitment could also be inclined to be weak academically. On the other hand, taking time away from the academic schedule to build such skills could degrade academic progress.
The Personal Skills Map? is used in this study to explore the relationship of the emotional intelligence it measures to academic achievement as defined by grade point averages. Ten of 11 personal skills, participation in service learning, holding leadership positions, and leader/planner learning styles were found to be significantly correlated with grade point averages. Several implications for education are presented from the results. Suggestions as to ways instructional and political leaders can ensure programs that support student achievement and personal growth are presented as well.