Personality and Self-Belief Predictors of GPA: Not Much More than Conscientiousness?




Minnigh, Tyler L.

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A challenge in research on the predictive power of various cognitive and non-cognitive predictors of academic performance is identifying valid, varied, and non-redundant psychological variables which maximize a selection system's ability to predict future grade point averages (GPAs). While cognitive tests (e.g., the SAT and ACT) are generally considered moderately strong predictors of future academic performance, they leave a substantial amount of variance in GPAs unaccounted for. Some non-cognitive predictors, such as personality traits and self-beliefs, predict additional variance in GPAs after controlling for cognitive test scores. Conscientiousness, one the "Big Five" personality traits which broadly represents a person's industriousness, achievement-striving, and deliberation, is one of the most well established non-cognitive predictors of academic performance. However, non-cognitive predictors from distinct research traditions often overlap conceptually, leading to concerns that related constructs may really be measuring the same thing. The current project tested whether selected personality and self-belief variables continue to predict GPA after removing variance shared with Conscientiousness and controlling for SAT scores. For the majority of the selected variables, the current study found that their relationship with GPA was severely attenuated after removing variance shared with Conscientiousness, leading to the conclusion that their effect on academic performance is "not much more than Conscientiousness".


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Academic Performance, Academic Self-efficacy, Achievement Motivation, Conscientiousness, Grade Goals, Grit