In our
daily life, academic achievement is commonly used to represent the results that
a student has achieved in his or her studies, including cumulative Grade Point
Average (GPA), awarded educational degrees, and professional certification and
so on (Mann, 2001). According to the definition given by Liem, Martin, Porter
and Colmar (2011), academic achievement refers to educational accomplishments
through learning and training in places like schools and higher educational
institutions. Also, it is usually measured and evaluated by examinations and
assessments, such as standardized tests and performance assessments. While, Wagerman
and funder (2007) figured out that there isn’t any general
agreement concerning on how academic achievement should be best assessed. In
fact, many factors could affect individual academic achievement, including
individual differences in intelligence and personality, cognitive factors,
motivation, self-control, and so on (Chamorro-Premuzic
and furnham, 2008). In this essay, however, it mainly focuses
on using recent research evidence to discuss the correlation between academic
achievement and personality from various points.

 

Academic
achievement and personality

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In terms of academic
achievement or performance, both the theoretical and practical values of
academic achievement should be considered as the importance of it. Except its
theoretical value, its practical value could not be neglected because of its
high validity for both society and individual (Poropat, 2009). Based on the
statistic of OECD which is the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development, educational setting contributes to the domestic products of the
member countries of OECD in a certain extent (Poropat, 2009). Normally, GPA is
the most common use in measuring academic achievement despite of some doubts
existed. The validity of measure of GPA is doubtful in a reason of its temporal
stability (Poropat, 2009). Funder (2001), however, suggested that the
reliability and stability of it is high across a long time.

In terms of personality, there
are a variety of approaches to measure it, including the most two general
taxonomies: HEXACO, the five-factor model (Laidra,
Pullmann & Allik, 2007) Among them, the dimensions of the five-factor model
(FFM) involves in five basic units: extraversion, neuroticism,
conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness. Besides, each of the five
dimensions can be divided into more specific levels in which shows different
characteristics (Digman,1990). For example, neuroticism refers to emotion
control and extraversion relate to the degree of sociability. Back to last
century, Savage (1962) indicated that the
five-factor model showed the trait dimensions step by step which contributes to
its high credibility, validity and robustness. As a result, it is applied into
a series of researches over the years. 

Relevant prior research

       In this paragraph, it pays much attention on
exploring the correlation between academic performance and personality through
analysing recent research. According to Heaven, Ciarrochi and Vialle (2007),
they noticed that the recent research related to academic performance and
personality put more emphasizes on the Big Five personality traits
and Eysenck’s three dimensions. But there are still many resource and
scientific research demonstrate that academic performance is no longer only
correlated with the five factors of personality like agreeableness, openness
and extraversion, but it is also correlated with traits such as self-esteem, or
the level of personality organizations in activities, which is similar to the
conscientiousness of Big Five personality traits (Furnham, Chamorro-Premuzic,
and McDougall, 2003). Also, Lesson, Ciarrochi and Heaven (2008) agreed that
individual differences in personality relate to his or her academic
performance. Besides, Dunsmore
(2005) organized 146 postgraduate international students through analysing
their cumulative GPA to reveal that personality traits are largely correlated
with academic performance. At the same time, Iulia and Florentina (2012) agreed
that self-esteem would help people to gain high academic performance. In turn,
a low self-esteem would influence academic performance negatively. Besides, Joshi
and Srivastava (2009) figured out that a low level of self-esteem goes against
academic results. There are several specific previous researches showed below
to illustrate the link between them in a further analysis and expansion.

One
reliable study focusing on big five-factor conducted by (Poropat, 2009)
founded that agreeableness, openness and conscientiousness related to academic
performance, based on his meta-analysis by reviewing amount of recent
literature and database, and particularly conducting a sample pool of more than
70,000 students which involved in secondary and tertiary academic levels and a
small part of primary level. In particular, he agreed that conscientiousness is
a very important factor comparing to the others for the prediction of students’
academic performance in the tertiary level, which means conscientiousness can
determine academic performance as vital as the status of intelligence.
Meanwhile, he also suggested that the different levels of academic performance
were correlated differently with personality in varying degrees and aspects,
based on the FFM (Poropat, 2009).

Furthermore?based
on the experimental results enrolling 80 college graduates aged from 22 to 28
conducted by Iulia and Florentina (2012), they drew a conclusion that
personality is a key factor that have influences on academic achievement.
Specifically, Iulia and Florentina (2012) attempt to measure Neuroticism,
Extraversion, and Psychoticism depending on EPQ method which is a questionnaire
for assessing personality. Meanwhile, they also use the methods of MBTI and
Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale. Iulia and Florentina evaluate academic
performance based on the grading of the final project and overall performance
in the previous academic year. In table 1, it will illustrate that its specific
grading information.  

 

Table 1. relationships between
academic performance and neuroticism, extraversion, and psychoticism (Iulia and
Florentina, 2012)

 

 

Final Grading 

Overall Grading of Previous Year 

Neuroticism 

-0.738 

-0.445 

Extraversion 

0.214 

0.038 

Psychoticism 

-0.358 

-0.314 

 

       Therefore, the above data demonstrates
that both neuroticism and psychoticism are negatively correlated with academic
performance, and extraversion still illustrates that it has a weak influence on
academic performance.  

Recently,
both a longitudinal study studied by Tomas and Adrian (2003) and a
cross-sectional study conducted by Kaia (2006) had also demonstrated the link
between academic achievement and personality. Both of them found a number of
correlations between 2 variables based on the FFM and GPA. The first one
investigated by conducting two three-year period studies in two university in
UK, and covering multiple criteria involving in creativity, academic
performance and teacher’s prediction. 
The second study were examined from a sample pool of over 3000 students
in primary and secondary school. Although the academic level of these two
studies were different from each other, they found similar results in terms of
some causal relationship of two variables. Particularly, the neuroticism lead
to a worse academic achievement and conscientiousness usually is responsible
for better academic achievement.

Admittedly,
the above paragraphs explained the relationships between academic achievement and
personality, there are still lots of voices standing on the opposite ground.
They believe in that there are some ‘medium’. Asghar, Ali, Sayed (2011) noticed
that personality has effects on academic motivation rather than the academic
performance depending on the results of completing personality questionnaire
and academic motivation questionnaire by some college voluntary students.
Academic motivation can be seen as one of the casual factors that drives the
academic achievement, which means the personality does not directly link to
academic achievement (Asghar, Ali & Sayed, 2011). Some other voices pointed
out that learning style is the most factor predicting the academic achievement.
Pashler, Mcdaniel, Meera, Steven, Ronald and Alen. (2011) pointed out that the
potential of human’s learning ability could not be measured, which gives a
viewpoint that academic achievement would be depend on the learning ability.

 

Conclusion

       As stated above, the positive results showed that there is a
strong link between academic achievement and personality, and most of the
previous research chose the FFM model to study. Additionally, most of the
research based on the FFM showed the result, that extraversion and
conscientiousness indicate a better academic achievement than neuroticism.
Other model of personality approach, as expected, also shows the correlation
between two variables. Although there might be some mediating roles in the
middle, the 2 variables are largely related and has demonstrated the casual relationship.
To sum up, academic achievement links to the personality to a great extent.
Depending on the research above, I would say my personality greatly belong to
conscientiousness as far as I know. I feel good when I arrange my time
reasonable and organize my life effectively. The research above indicated
people who are conscientious may get a high academic achievement. I hope I
could achieve what I expect by working hard.