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Biographical Factors and Academic Achievement: An Experimental Investigation

Myers, Robert C.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Biographical Inventories, College Entrance Examinations, Females, Grade Prediction, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Student Characteristics


The purpose of the paper is to see if biographical information gathered from admission applications is useful for prognosis of academic achievement. The freshmen records of an eastern women's liberal arts college were investigated for the Classes of 1951 and 1952. The college is a member of the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) and requires all applicants to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The original group consisted of 355 students in the Class of 1951 who completed their freshman year. Their scores on the math and verbal sections of the SAT were compared to their first year grade point average (GPA) to arrive at an Achievement Index. The items of biographical information which showed a statistically significant relationship with the achievement index were used in constructing a biographical score. The biographical score was related to the freshman year GPA. It was validated by comparing it to another student group, the Class of 1952 who had completed their first year. Intercorrelations are shown for the Class of 1951 for SAT scores, high school average grade, and first year GPA. Some biographical items were eliminated because differences between mean achievement indexes in major categories were not statistically significant. Components of the biographical scoring key were: 1) religion; 2) extent of participation in organized extracurricular and civic activities; 3) size of home town; 4) county of residence; 5) nativity of parents; 6) birth order of student; and 7) high school offices held. Double weight was given to those items found significant at the 1% level. (SGK).

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