The Development And Validation Of A Strategy For Selecting Resident Assistants

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


This study was designed to develop a strategy for selecting Resident Assistants (RAs) based on matching profiles of successful workers with those of applicants. Assertiveness, therapeutic talent, grade point averages, having prior related work experiences, being involved in college activities, and number of semesters of college completed were selected for use as predictor characteristics. Thirty-eight RAs at the University of Miami and 145 applicants for positions becoming available the following year participated in this study. Thirty-seven of these applicants served as a cross validation group after being hired and placed in RA positions.Issues investigated by this study were whether (1) assertiveness and therapeutic talent could be used to predict performance ratings; (2) experiential characteristics could enhance performance predictions; and (3) the alternative strategy could more effectively identify high-potential applicants than the present process. Hypotheses related to these issues were tested. This study also investigated (1) stability of performance ratings; (2) interrater reliability of Graduate Assistants completing the evaluations; and (3) differences between applicants accepted and rejected under the current selection guidelines.Measurements of therapeutic talent were significant predictors of job performance. Experiential characteristics were able to enhance predictions on one of two rating scales used in this study. Applicants recommended for hiring had more semesters completed and higher ratings for college activities; however, these characteristics were weighted negatively when included in one of two prediction equations derived in this study. RAs identified as having the highest potential using these prediction equations out performed those identified as having lower potential.Based upon the results listed in the above paragraph, the following conclusions were drawn: (1) Measured levels of therapeutic talent are more effective characteristics for prediction of RA job performance and (2) The alternative strategy developed for this study merits consideration as a replacement for the selection strategy currently in use at the University of Miami. Recommendations for future studies include (1) further refining use of experiential characteristics for prediction of performance; (2) modification of supervision of RAs in dormitories; and (3) attempting to apply the alternative strategy in other settings.


Education, Educational Psychology

Link to Full Text