IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hka/wpaper/2016-022.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

What Grades and Achievement Tests Measure

Author

Listed:
  • Lex Borghans

    () (Maastricht University)

  • Bart Golsteyn

    () (Maastricht University and SOFI)

  • James J. Heckman

    () (The University of Chicago)

  • John Eric Humphries

    (University of Chicago, Department of Economics)

Abstract

Intelligence quotient (IQ), grades, and scores on achievement tests are widely used as measures of cognition, yet the correlations among them are far from perfect. This paper uses a variety of data sets 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 of 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Lex Borghans & Bart Golsteyn & James J. Heckman & John Eric Humphries, 2016. "What Grades and Achievement Tests Measure," Working Papers 2016-022, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2016-022
    Note: ECI, IP, MIP
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Borghans_Golsteyn_Heckman_etal_2016_what-grades-ach-measure.pdf
    File Function: First version, November, 2016
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James J. Heckman & Stefano Mosso, 2014. "The Economics of Human Development and Social Mobility," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 689-733, August.
    2. Lex Borghans & Huub Meijers & Bas Ter Weel, 2008. "The Role Of Noncognitive Skills In Explaining Cognitive Test Scores," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(1), pages 2-12, January.
    3. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 607-668, September.
    4. Carmit Segal, 2012. "Working When No One Is Watching: Motivation, Test Scores, and Economic Success," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(8), pages 1438-1457, August.
    5. Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-266, May.
    6. Marianne Bertrand & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2010. "Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 228-255, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Burgess, Simon & Heller-Sahlgren, Gabriel, 2018. "Motivated to Succeed? Attitudes to Education among Native and Immigrant Pupils in England," IZA Discussion Papers 11678, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Kassenboehmer, Sonja C. & Schurer, Stefanie, 2018. "Survey Item-Response Behavior as an Imperfect Proxy for Unobserved Ability: Theory and Application," IZA Discussion Papers 11449, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Isphording, Ingo E. & Wozny, Florian, 2018. "Ursachen des Studienabbruchs – eine Analyse des Nationalen Bildungspanels," IZA Research Reports 82, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Golsteyn, Bart H. H. & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah, 2017. "Challenges in research on preferences and personality traits: Measurement, stability, and inference," DICE Discussion Papers 263, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    5. Sonja C. Kassenboehmer & Stefanie Schurer, 2018. "Survey item-response behavior as an imperfect proxy for unobserved ability: Theory and application," Working Papers 2018-035, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    6. repec:eee:intell:v:62:y:2017:i:c:p:48-53 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    iq; personality traits; grades; achievement tests;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2016-022. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jennifer Pachon). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/mfichus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.