Examining Predictors of Academic Success at Postsecondary Institutions

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When the number of applicants exceeds the capacity of postsecondary institutions, it must be decided which students are more qualified and most likely succeed in these institutions. Selection criteria vary from institution to institution and from country to country and to determine which criterion or criteria are most accurate in predicting academic success in postsecondary institutions is a very complex task. Cognitive factors (e.g., SAT), noncognitive factors (e.g., personality traits), and demographic characteristics (e.g., gender, ethnicity, location) are major criteria for the admission decisions in most of postsecondary institutions. Nevertheless, traditionally, future academic success has been predicted from cognitive factors used as criteria of academic success (Pentages & Creedon, 1978). A significant body of literature shows that both high school grade point averages and standardized tests scores, such as the SAT or the ACT scores, are generally significant predictors of student success in college (Bridgeman, McCamley-Jenkins, & Ervin, 2000; Snyder, Hackett, Stewart, & Smith, 2002; Kim, 2002; Kuncel, Credé, & Thomas, 2007; Kuncel et al., 2005; Kuncel, Hezlett, & Ones, 2001, 2004; Noble, 1991; Astin, Korn, & Green, 1987; Moffat, 1993; Ramist, Lewis, & McCamley-Jenkins, 1993; Waugh, Micceri, & Takalkar, 1994; Wolfe & Johnson, 1995). In Yemen, however, although there is a significant growth in the student population, most postsecondary institutions have traditionally been relying on high school GPA to make decisions about student admission and indicate a students' potential for success in postsecondary institutions. Engineering and scientific colleges use admission tests after a student obtains a certain grade point averag... ... middle of paper ... ...; Camara & Echternacht, 2000; Fleming & Garcia, 1998; Fleming, 2002; Hoffman, 2002; Munro, 1981; Tross et al, 2000; Zheng et al., 2002; Gose, 1994; Peltier, Laden, & Martranga, 1999; Lawlor, Richman, & Richman, 1997). On the other hand, other research shows that admission test scores are significantly related to the college success. Studies on the predictive validity of the SAT reported that prediction of academic success is enhanced by using the SAT scores (Camara & Echternacht, 2000). Regarding the situation in Yemen, universities, colleges, and postsecondary institutions select promising applicants based on their levels of performance on high schools general examinations and their scores on the admission test. In order to ensure fair admission decisions, examining the accuracy of prediction of these two measures for all students is very important and essential.

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