What Grades and Achievement Tests Measure

Lex Borghans, Bart Golsteyn, James J. Heckman, John Eric Humphries

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Abstract

Intelligence quotient (IQ), grades, and scores on achievement tests are widely used as measures of cognition, but the correlations among them are far from perfect. This paper uses a variety of datasets to show that personality and IQ predict grades and scores on achievement tests. Personality is relatively more important in predicting grades than scores on achievement tests. IQ is relatively more important in predicting scores on achievement tests. Personality is generally more predictive than IQ on a variety of important life outcomes. Both grades and achievement tests are substantially better predictors of important life outcomes than IQ. The reason is that both capture personality traits that have independent predictive power beyond that of IQ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13354-13359
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume113
Issue number47
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2016

Keywords

  • IQ
  • achievement tests
  • grades
  • personality traits
  • METAANALYSIS
  • TEST-SCORES
  • ACADEMIC-PERFORMANCE
  • EDUCATION
  • MOTIVATION
  • INTELLIGENCE
  • PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY
  • PREDICTORS
  • COGNITIVE SKILLS
  • ECONOMICS

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