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What Grades and Achievement Tests Measure

Author

Listed:
  • Borghans, Lex

    () (Maastricht University)

  • Golsteyn, Bart H.H.

    () (Maastricht University)

  • Heckman, James J.

    () (University of Chicago)

  • Humphries, John Eric

    () (Yale University)

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

  • Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H.H. & Heckman, James J. & Humphries, John Eric, 2016. "What Grades and Achievement Tests Measure," IZA Discussion Papers 10356, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10356
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    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.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. What Grades and Achievement Tests Measure
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2016-11-23 21:34:20

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    2. 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).
    3. 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.
    4. repec:eee:intell:v:62:y:2017:i:c:p:48-53 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    IQ; achievement tests; grades; personality traits;

    JEL classification:

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

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