PERSONALITY AND COGNITIVE ABILITIES AS PREDICTORS OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS' ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

Helena SMRTNIK VITULIĆ, Simona PROSEN

Abstract


In the current study the students' big five personality traits and specific cognitive abilities were included in predicting their academic achievement: grade point average (GPA) and grades from specific subjects. Two generations of first-year faculty students participated in the research: 203 students of primary education and 80 students of social pedagogy. Using hierarchical multiple regression analyses, non-verbal cognitive abilities, included in the first step of analyses, accounted significantly for 4% of the variance in grade in "science and mathematics" for primary education students, whereas verbal cognitive abilities explained 7% of variance in the GPA of social pedagogy students. The big five personality traits, included in the second step of analyses, significantly improved the prediction of grade in "psychology and didactics", for primary education students and overall grades for social pedagogy students, relative to the predictions based only on the cognitive abilities tests. Among the big five personality traits, measured with BFQ (Caprara et al., 1997), conscientiousness was the only significant predictor of certain grades for both student groups.

Keywords


academic achievement; university students; cognitive ability; personality; big five

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