Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Personality traits and student performance 

Temasek Junior College may have found out what makes top students tick. Excerpt from Today:

Top students more resilient and focused at the expense of trust, humility: Study
WHAT makes a student do well academically? Besides studying, that is ...

Temasek Junior College (TJC), seeking...to learn which personality traits correlated with its scholarship recipients and/or top ‘A’ Level performers...found that “successful” students were more resilient and focused than “poor performers”.

These were the two key differentiating traits in a personality model of five factors: Openness, agreeableness, extroversion, conscientiousness and negative emotionality. People who are more conscientious are more focused, while those with fewer negative emotions are deemed resilient...

[S]tudents with poor academic results or who have undergone lengthy counselling are more prone to anger, discouragement and self-consciousness. They also see themselves as less dutiful and having less drive to achieve success...

Apart from the academic yardstick, the study...also reflected well on TJC’s top sports students. Not only were they found to be more resilient and conscientious than the rest of the cohort, a key differentiating trait was extroversion — they were found to be warmer, more gregarious and more active.

The top students, on the other hand, scored less on agreeableness, as they were less trusting, less tender-hearted and less humble.
I’m not too familiar with the personality model used in the study. The newspaper describes “conscientiousness”, which the study found top students as being high in, in terms of being focused.

One model which I am familiar with describes “conscientiousness” in terms which can essentially be summed up as rule-oriented self-centredness. If the model used in the study defines conscientiousness similarly, then it’s hardly surprising that the top students are not particularly high on “agreeableness”.

The article also said that the study “reflected well on TJC’s top sports students” as they were extroverted: warm, gregarious and active. I’m not sure whether the writer is aware that many political dictators also exhibit the same personality type.

Human resource experts nowadays recognise a wide range of personality types. Each personality type would fit a particular role in an organisation or society, which needs a range of personalities to function effectively. Pigeonholing personality types broadly as “good” or “bad” is no longer particularly useful.


Post a Comment

<< Home