Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence




In 1904, the French government asked the psychologist Alfred Binet to devise a general test of intelligence that could be used to identify pupils who were behind their age cohort, in order to give them extra help to bring their level up to that of their peers. For most of the 20th century, intelligence testing has played a major role in education, unfortunately to categorize pupils at an early stage in the life, rather than to help them. In the last two decades, much work has been done in broadening the testing of students, especially in examining the relationship between so-called non-cognitive factors and academic success. This paper looks at that relationship for seven common factors, the American Psychological Association's `Big 5' Personality Traits (openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, often represented by the acronym OCEAN), Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck's Mindset test and University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth's Grit test (defined by her to be a a combination of passion and perseverance). The paper examines the correlation between scores on these tests and academic results. The results were surprising, in that the Irish students showed little or no correlation between their Grit scores and their academic success, contrary to the American experience. One positive was the internal consistency of the results, with students' scores in the APA's Big 5 trait closest to Grit, conscientiousness, also showing no relationship to academic success.