Research in Higher Education

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 333–348

A comparison of white and black student academic success using noncognitive variables: A LISREL analysis

  • Terence J. Tracey
  • William E. Sedlacek


The structural relation of the seven noncognitive dimensions proposed by Sedlacek and Brooks in 1976 and traditional definitions of academic ability, as indicated by Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores, to first semester grade-point average (GPA) and persistence after three and five semesters was examined in this study. Random samples of entrants at one predominantly white state university were administered the Non-cognitive Questionnaire (NCQ) during summer orientation in 1979 and 1980. The NCQ results and the SAT scores were used to derive structural models (using LISREL) or early academic success for both black and white students. The structural models for the black and white students were found to be very different. For black students, traditional academic ability was related to first semester GPA, but neither GPA nor academic ability was related to persistence. Only the noncognitive dimensions were predictive of black student persistence. For white students, academic ability was the best predictor of first semester grades, and these grades were the major predictor of subsequent persistence. The noncognitive dimensions were not important in white student academic success, whereas they were crucial in black student academic success.


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Copyright information

© Agathon Press, Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terence J. Tracey
    • 1
  • William E. Sedlacek
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaign
  2. 2.University Counseling CenterUniversity of MarylandCollege Park

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