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The importance of personality, IQ and learning approaches: predicting academic performance
Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Humanvetenskap. Kristianstad University, Forskningsmiljön ForFame.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5947-5594
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of the present doctoral thesis was to examine to what extent personality traits and approaches to learning contribute to academic performance in upper secondary school (high school), after controlling for the well-known fact that general intelligence accounts for a large part of the variance. The general proposition of the thesis is that personality traits are stable dispositions and therefore predispose an individual to behave or act in a specific manner (Costa & McCrae, 1976). Additionally, another important determinant of academic performance is students’ approaches to learning, the way someone studies and makes sense of a particular school subject (Biggs, 1999). Study I examined how personality traits, divided into facets, predict academic performance in different school subjects. The results from several SEM analyses showed that personality, specifically Conscientiousness, has a positive influence on academic performance. In addition, there was a negative relation between Extraversion and academic performance and a positive relation between Neuroticism and academic performance. There were also interesting findings on the facet levels for all traits. The major conclusion of this study is that personality traits, both on the factor level and on the facet level, are important to academic performance in general, but sometimes more specifically to different school subjects. In Study II, the aim was to investigate the unique contribution of learning approaches to academic performance. A second aim was to explore possible gender differences in learning approaches. It was found that learning approaches contributed uniquely to academic performance, over and above personality and general intelligence. Differences between girls and boys were found, both with respect to the use of learning approaches and the consequences of these learning approaches for performance results. Based on a longitudinal design, the aim of Study III was to explore to what extent personality traits predict academic performance. Conscientiousness, Extraversion and Neuroticism were found to predict overall academic performance. Results suggest that personality traits, as measured at the age of 16, can predict academic performance at the age of 19, and more specifically: the grades of conscientious students improved from age 16 to age 19. This study extends previous work by assessing the relationship between the Big Five and academic performance over a three-year period.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Lund University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology , 2012. , 94 p.
Keyword [en]
personality, IQ, learning approaches, academic performance, high school
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-10042ISBN: 978-7473-413-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hkr-10042DiVA: diva2:588957
Public defence
Kulturens auditorium, Lund (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-01-16 Created: 2013-01-16 Last updated: 2015-01-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Personality traits and general intelligence as predictors of academic performance: a structural equation modelling approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Personality traits and general intelligence as predictors of academic performance: a structural equation modelling approach
2011 (English)In: Learning and individual differences, ISSN 1041-6080, E-ISSN 1873-3425, Vol. 21, no 5, 590-596 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of the present study was to investigate the extent to which personality traits, after controlling for general intelligence, predict academic performance in different school subjects. Upper secondary school students in Sweden (N=315) completed the Wonderlic IQ test (Wonderlic, 1992) and the IPIP-NEO-PI test (Goldberg, 1999). A series of hierarchical structural equation models showed that general intelligence, Conscientiousness, Extraversion and Neuroticism were significantly linked to overall academic performance. There were also different findings for a lower level of personality traits, e.g. different personality traits were associated with different subjects. The findings are discussed with regard to previous results on personality traits as determinants of academic performance in different school subjects and the fact that lower level traits may facilitate achievement in particular subjects.

Keyword
Big Five, General intelligence, Academic performance, Structural, equation modelling
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-8792 (URN)10.1016/j.lindif.2011.04.004 (DOI)000295435700015 ()
Available from: 2011-12-07 Created: 2011-12-06 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
2. The unique contribution of learning approaches to academic performance, after controlling for IQ and personality: are there gender differences?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The unique contribution of learning approaches to academic performance, after controlling for IQ and personality: are there gender differences?
2012 (English)In: Learning and individual differences, ISSN 1041-6080, E-ISSN 1873-3425, Vol. 22, no 6, 820-826 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present study investigated the unique contribution of learning approaches to academic performance, also taking gender differences into account. The participant sample consisted of 476 school pupils (53% girls and 47% boys) from two upper secondary schools in Sweden who completed two self-reported measures related to personality and learning approaches and one cognitive ability test. A series of hierarchical regressions were performed with participants' school subject-specific grades as the criterion variable and learning approaches as the predictor variable, after controlling for all variance related to IQ and personality. The results showed that learning approaches accounted for 6% and 16% of the variance in academic performance for girls and boys, respectively. The results are discussed in terms of possible explanations for and implications of the gender differences found.

National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-10040 (URN)10.1016/j.lindif.2012.05.011 (DOI)
Available from: 2013-01-16 Created: 2013-01-16 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. A longitudinal study of personality traits and intelligence as predictors of academic performance: the importance of conscientiousness
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A longitudinal study of personality traits and intelligence as predictors of academic performance: the importance of conscientiousness
(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-10044 (URN)
Available from: 2013-01-16 Created: 2013-01-16 Last updated: 2015-01-12Bibliographically approved

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