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Personality Measurement and College Performance

Messick, Samuel J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Grade Prediction, Performance Factors, Personality Measures, Predictive Validity, Testing Problems


Two issues concerning the potential of personality tests as a way to predict college performance are addressed: whether the tests are good measures of the personality characteristics, and what uses should be made of the tests. Criteria for evaluating personality measures include test reliability, predictive validity, relationships with other known variables, adequate controls for faking or distortion, and construct validity. The major methods of personality tests are discussed in terms of these criteria: (1) self report questionnaires, including factorial inventories, empirically derived inventories, and rational inventories; (2) behavior ratings; and (3) objective performance tests, which may involve cognitive style. To use a personality measure for college admission involves a particular value judgment, which, if used, should be made explicit in the educational policy that attempts to justify its use. Reasons for using personality testing might include the screening of extreme deviants, student's potential contribution to the college environment, selection for ultimate career satisfaction or for desirable personal characteristics or attitudes. Paper Presented at ETS Invitational Conference, New York, November Sub Pub - In 1963 Invitational Conference Proceedings. Princeton,NJ: 1963.

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