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Brandt, Naemi D.; Lechner, Clemens M.; Tetzner, Julia; Rammstedt, Beatrice:

Personality, cognitive ability, and academic performance
Differential associations across school subjects and school tracks

In: Journal of Personality, 88 (2020) 2 , 249-265

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3a. Beiträge in begutachteten Zeitschriften; Aufsatz (keine besondere Kategorie)

Aim: Personality traits and cognitive ability are wellestablished predictors of academic performance. Yet, how consistent and generalizable are the associations between personality, cognitive ability, and performance? Building on theoretical arguments that trait-performance relations should vary depending on the demands and opportunities for trait expression in the learning environment, we investigated whether the associations of personality (Big Five) and cognitive ability (fluid intelligence) with academic performance (grades and tests scores) vary across school subjects (German and math) and across abilitygrouped school tracks (academic, intermediate, and vocational). Method: Multiple group structural equation models in a large representative sample of ninthgrade students (N = 12,915) from the German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS). Results: Differential associations across school subjects emerged for cognitive ability, Emotional Stability, and Conscientiousness (math ) German); and for Openness and Extraversion (German ) math). Differential associations across school tracks emerged for cognitive ability, Conscientiousness (academic ) intermediate ) vocational) and Agreeableness (academic ) intermediate ) vocational). Personality traits explained more variation in academic performance in the academic than in the other tracks. Conclusion: Most trait-performance relations varied across subjects, tracks, or both. These findings highlight the need for more nuanced and contextminded perspective on trait-performance relations. (DIPF/Orig.)

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