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The Role of Academic Ability in High-Level Accomplishment and General Success

Baird, Leonard L.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Academic Ability, Aptitude Tests, Gifted, High Achievement, Literature Reviews, Success


The relationship of measures of academic ability and grades with high level accomplishment was examined by extensively reviewing a wide ranging literature. This literature included studies of the highly creative, scientists and technicians, physicians, high- and middle-level managers, and high school and college students. The Terman studies of the gifted were also reviewed. Finally, studies of occupational attainment and income were examined. A very wide variety of criteria were used in these studies. In general, the studies demonstrated low positive relationships between academic aptitude and/or grades, and accomplishment. The closer the content of the measure of academic aptitude to the demands of the field, the stronger the relationship. The full force of academic ability can be seen "across" occupations and ability levels. These studies show that academic ability is related to educational and occupational attainment, broadly defined.

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