New Publication in Learning and Individual Differences

Program-specific prediction of academic achievement on the basis of cognitive and non-cognitive factors.

Choosing a suitable study program is one of the factors that facilitates academic achievement and thus prevents drop-out in the first year of tertiary education. This requires adequate information on both the individual abilities and the environment during the study choice process. The SIMON (Study Skills and Interest MONitor) project of Ghent University, Belgium, provides this information to prospective students through an online tool that informs them a) on the match between their interests and study programs and b) about their personal chances of success in specific study programs. The current study intends to validate the prediction of program-specific chances of success by examining a) the (incremental) predictive validity of cognitive and non-cognitive variables of conscientiousness, motivation, self-efficacy, metacognition and test anxiety and b) the differential predictive power of variables within and across study programs. In addition, a path model with structural relations between variables was tested. The sample consisted of 2391 new incoming students. Results supported the incremental validity of non-cognitive factors. Achievement could be predicted by cognitive and background factors and by conscientiousness, self-efficacy and test anxiety. Moreover, the predictive power of variables varied across study programs, which suggests that research findings about the prediction of academic achievement might benefit from taking into account the specific program context. Practical implications for research and (educational program choice) counselling of students are discussed.


Fonteyne, L., Duyck, W., & De Fruyt, F. (2017). Program-specific prediction of academic achievement on the basis of cognitive and non-cognitive factors. Learning and Individual Differences, 56, 34-48.  Impact Factor: 1.631. Ranking Q2.  PDF available here

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