Learning and Individual Differences 18 (2008) 492 – 496 www.elsevier.com/locate/lindif
The role of personality and motivation in predicting early college academic success in non-traditional students at a Hispanic-serving institution James C. Kaufman a,⁎, Mark D. Agars a , Muriel C. Lopez-Wagner b a
Learning Research Institute, California State University, San Bernardino, CA, United States b California State University, San Bernardino, CA, United States
Received 19 May 2006; received in revised form 20 November 2007; accepted 22 November 2007
Abstract Non-cognitive factors represent a chance to learn more about how to help students succeed in early college experiences. This study examined personality and motivation as predictors of first-quarter GPA in a sample of 315 non-traditional undergraduates at a Hispanic-serving institution. Our results provide support for the importance of high levels of conscientiousness, intrinsic motivation, and low levels of extrinsic motivation in first-quarter school success. Implications and possible interventions are discussed. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Keywords: Non-cognitive; School achievement; College; Hispanic; Motivation; Personality
Almost 15 years ago, Mouw and Khanna (1993) noted that there was considerable variance in college GPA that could not be explained by the traditional pre-college predictors (e.g., high school GPA, SAT and ACT scores). Since then, Robbins et al. (2004) identified three types of predictors: traditional (e.g., SAT scores), demographic (e.g., gender), and psychosocial factors (e.g., personality, motivation). Robbins, Allen, Casillas, Peterson, and Le (2006) found that several psychosocial factors were related to academic performance and retention. The important factors, which they dub “Student Readiness” indicators, included Academic Discipline, Social Activity, Emotional Control, Commitment to College, and Social Connection. Indeed, one can argue, as did Robbins et al. (2004), that such a descriptive approach is a valuable one. Such approaches integrate more traditional concepts, such as the five-factor personality model or the intrinsic–extrinsic theory of motivation, allowing past research to be utilized. Indeed, there have been many studies of personality and academic success, mostly using the Big-Five model that argues five basic factors underlie traditional personality assessment. The personality factor most repeatedly linked to academic achieve⁎ Corresponding author. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org (J.C. Kaufman). 1041-6080/$ - see front matter © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2007.11.004
ment is conscientiousness (e.g., Higgins, Peterson, & Rihl, 2007; Noftle & Robins, 2007). Other studies have occasionally found evidence to support a different factor (for example, Lounsbury, Welsh, & Gibson, 2005, found evidence for openness to experience), but nothing close to the strong pattern arguing for the importance of conscientiousness. The relationship between motivation and school success is also well established (e.g., Pintrich & Schunk, 1996), if less clearly. Several studies have looked at academic success and motivational orientation. Intrinsic motivation and its related goals have been found to relate to classroom success (e.g., Church, Elliott, & Gable, 2001). The research is not as consistent as it is with personality; for example, Baker (2004) found that motivation was not related to academic achievement. Studies that have examined both personality and motivation have found highly conflicting results (e.g., McKenzie, Gow, & Schweiter, 2004; Phillips, Abraham, & Bond, 2003). In this paper, we study personality and motivation variables on a unique population of non-traditional students at a Hispanic-serving institution to determine if past results are replicated. Most of the previously discussed studies have been conducted on traditional...