Academic performance encompasses both cognitive and non-cognitive skills in a complex and interdependent matrix where one begets the other.
While cognitive skills may be easier to measure, with schools around the globe utilizing standardized testing to evaluate the academic performance and proper advancement of students from one grade level to the next, current studies stress the importance of non-cognitive skills as equally important determinants of success in the academic world and beyond.
We will look at 5 popular tests that serve as excellent predictors of academic performance and, consequently, graduation rates, post-graduate education, and economic/vocational success.
The most well-known measure of cognitive skills used worldwide is an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test, consisting of a series of questions that measure reasoning and problem-solving skills.
Test questions can be verbal or non-verbal, often testing intelligence in abstract yet universal ways, which is why IQ tests are so pervasively used. There have been countless studies that correlate IQ scores with intellectual intelligence and academic performance. Other intelligence tests include:
- Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children.
- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.
- Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability.
The second form of cognitive skills tests is standardized tests that educators administer at every grade level to measure their students’ academic performance against other school districts. General math, reading, writing, and reasoning skills tests assess a student’s learning advancement from one year to the next, which predicts how well the student will continue to perform academically.
The third set of cognitive tests are standardized college and graduate school entrance exams like the SAT, ACT, GRE, MCAT, and LSAT. These tests measure a student’s academic potential. However, they have recently faced criticism for being better predictors of a student’s socio-economic background than raw academic performance.
To test non-cognitive skills, administrators and researchers use psychometric tests that assess character traits and measure emotional intelligence. There are many psychometric tests out there, but the consensus is that the top four character traits that predict academic and economic success are discipline, grit, conscientiousness, and self-efficacy.
We have chosen the Grit Scale, and the ACT Engage tests as two tests that aptly encompass the range of emotional and personal characteristics covered to get the best idea of emotional and motivational intelligence.
Cognitive and Non-cognitive Tests Are the Best Predictors
To conclude, cognitive and non-cognitive skills are both vital aspects of academic performance. While testing cognitive abilities have become a controversial topic, we will list the 5 types of cognitive and non-cognitive tests that have popularly served as the best predictors of academic performance:
- Intelligent Quotient (IQ)
- Standardized Testing
- College and Graduate Entrance Exams
- Grit Scale
- ACT Engage