Noncognitive predictors of academic performance. Going beyond the traditional measures

J Allied Health. 2003 Spring;32(1):52-7.


The purpose of this study was to examine comparatively the use of an atypical, noncognitive predictor of academic achievement, the Problem Solving Inventory (PSI), with the traditional cognitive measures of American College Testing (ACT) score and grade point average (CPA). A review of relevant literature on noncognitive variables as predictors of academic success is provided, followed by a general overview of the PSI and pertinent literature. In this study, the PSI was administered to 28 dental hygiene students, and a series of models were tested. The first model examined the relationship between the traditional cognitive predictors of academic success (ACT score and entering GPA) on academic outcomes (National Board Dental Hygiene Examination score and exit CPA). A second model examined the influence of the PSI composite score when added to the cognitive predictors. A third model examined the addition of the three PSI factor scores to the cognitive predictors. The addition of PSI scores in the second and third models increased the predictive capacity of the respective model. Bivariate correlations indicated a significant inverse relationship (p < 0.05) between the admissions variables of ACT score and entering OPA with PSI composite and factor scores. The PSI personal control factor score showed a significant (p < 0.05) inverse relationship with the outcome measures. Preliminary findings indicate that the PSI adds slightly to the predictive capacity of ACT score and entering GPA, although its usefulness in augmenting these traditional measures used in the student selection process requires further investigation. The PSI factor score of personal control may provide insight into a student's coping skills, potentially having implications on academic achievement.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Decision Making
  • Dental Hygienists / education*
  • Dental Hygienists / psychology
  • Dental Hygienists / standards
  • Education, Professional
  • Educational Status*
  • Humans
  • Problem Solving*
  • Specialty Boards
  • United States