Monday, March 09, 2009

Noncognitive Constructs and Their Assessment in Graduate Education

Some insights on how non-cognitive personality constructs apply to graduate education are provided in the Educational Assessmnet Journal (2005) by Patrick Kyllonen, Alyssa Walters and James Kaufman from the Princeton Educational Testing Service and Department of Psychology, California State University at San Bernardino. The authors review the literature on noncognitive constructs, as well as personality as it specifically relates to graduate education.

In the first section, they review measures typically used in studies of graduate school outcomes, such as attrition and time to degree. They also review which student qualities faculty and administrators said they desired and cultivated in graduate programs. (They noted that there are many qualities faculty ranked high in desirability but which could only imperfectly be gleaned from sources such as letters of recommendation and personal statements).

In the second section, they review general personality factors (such as the “Big Five”), and conclude with a discussion of how personality factors might be used in admissions and guidance applications for graduate education.

3 comments:

Michael Daly said...

Using personality measures for admissions is tough as they can be so easily manipulated to make yourself look good. Ideas to get around this include using implicit measures or asking people to choose between competing characteristics.

Martin Ryan said...

Thanks for the links Michael. Some interesting stuff...

The Hirsch and Paterson approach is something we should definitely try out the next time personality is included in a survey project.

And one thing we could try with exisiting data is to see whether we can control for duration spent on the TIPI inventory. I'll see if its possible...

Martin Ryan said...

We discussed the non-cognitive skills of PhD attainment before on the blog, including a link to a debate in Science about whether test scores can predict good PhD performace:

http://gearybehaviourcenter.blogspot.com/2007/06/non-cognitive-skills-of-phd-attainment.html