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Personality, Motivation, and College Readiness: A Prospectus for Assessment and Development

Kyllonen, Patrick C.; Lipnevich, Anastasiya A.; Burrus, Jeremy; Roberts, Richard D.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
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Subject/Key Words:
Noncognitive Constructs, Personality, Student Motivation, College Readiness, Higher Education


This article concerns how noncognitive constructs—personality and motivation—can be assessed and developed to increase students' readiness for college. We propose a general framework to account for personality and motivational differences between students. We review numerous studies showing that personality and motivational factors are related to educational outcomes, from early childhood to adulthood. We discuss various methods for assessing noncognitive factors, ranging from self-assessments to performance tests. We consider data showing that personality and motivation change over time and find that particular interventions have proven successful in changing particular personality facets, leading to increased achievement. In a final section we propose a strategy for implementing a comprehensive psychosocial skills assessment in middle and high school, which would include setting proficiency standards and providing remedial instruction.

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