What Grades and Achievement Tests Measure

22 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2016

See all articles by Lex Borghans

Lex Borghans

Maastricht University - Department of Economics; University of Maastricht - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Bart Golsteyn

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)

James J. Heckman

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); American Bar Foundation; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

John Eric Humphries

Yale University, 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.

Keywords: IQ, achievement tests, grades, personality traits

JEL Classification: J24, D03

Suggested Citation

Borghans, Lex and Golsteyn, Bart and Heckman, James J. and Humphries, John Eric, What Grades and Achievement Tests Measure. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10356. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2872613

Lex Borghans (Contact Author)

Maastricht University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands

University of Maastricht - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, MD6200
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Bart Golsteyn

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, MD6200
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI) ( email )

Kyrkgatan 43B
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

James J. Heckman

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-0634 (Phone)
773-702-8490 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

American Bar Foundation

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

John Eric Humphries

Yale University, Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.johnerichumphries.com

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