Personality and student performance on evaluation methods used in business administration courses

  • Sawsen LakhalEmail author
  • Serge Sévigny
  • Éric Frenette


The objective of this study was to verify whether personality (Big Five model) influences performance on the evaluation methods used in business administration courses. A sample of 169 students enrolled in two compulsory undergraduate business courses responded to an online questionnaire. As it is difficult within the same course to assess students’ performance on several evaluation methods, students’ performance is rated in this study using a latent variable inferred from two self-reported measures: preference for evaluation methods and grades generally obtained on each of these methods. Two control variables (gender and age) were also included in the analyses. Multiple linear hierarchical regressions indicate that the Big Five factors explains 6 to 13 % of the variability in performance on group work, oral exams, written exams, multiple choice tests, and practical work. The discussion focuses on how different personality factors are called upon when it comes to performance on evaluation methods.


Big Five model of personality Gender Age Preference Performance Evaluation methods Business education 


  1. Bauer, K. W., & Liang, Q. (2003). The effect of personality and precollege characteristics on first-year activities and academic performance. Journal of College Student Development, 44(3), 277–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bean, J. P., & Metzner, B. S. (1985). A conceptual model of non-traditional undergraduate student attrition. Review of Educational Research, 55(4), 485–540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bennett, R. (2003). Determinants of undergraduate student drop-out rates in a university Business Studies Department. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 27(2), 123–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Biggs, J. B. (1993). From theory to practice: a cognitive systems approach. Higher Education Research and Development, 12(1), 73–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Birenbaum, M. (1997). Assessment preferences and their relationship to learning strategies and orientations. Higher Education, 33(1), 71–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boehnke, K. (2005). Value orientations in relation to mathematical self-esteem: an exploratory study of their role in mathematical achievement among German, Israeli, and Canadian 14-year-olds. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 20(3), 227–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bouchard, G., Lussier, Y., & Sabourin, S. (1999). Personality and marital adjustment: utility of the five-factor model of personality. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61(3), 651–660.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Budaev, S. V. (1999). Sex differences in the Big Five personality factors: testing an evolutionary hypothesis. Personality and Individual Differences, 26(5), 801–813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Busato, V. V., Prins, F. J., Elshout, J. J., & Hamaker, C. (2000). Intellectual ability, learning style, personality, achievement motivation and academic success of psychology students in higher education. Personality and Individual Differences, 29(6), 1057–1068.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cassady, J.C. (2001). Self-reported GPA and SAT: a methodological note. Practical Assessment, Research and Evaluation, 7(12). Accessed 17 Aug 2009.
  11. Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2006). Creativity versus conscientiousness: which is a better predictor of student performance? Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20(4), 521–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Furnham, A. (2003a). Personality traits and academic examination performance. European Journal of Personality, 17(3), 237–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Furnham, A. (2003b). Personality predicts academic performance: evidence from two longitudinal university samples. Journal of Research in Personality, 37(4), 319–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Furnham, A. (2005). Personality and intellectual competence. London: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  15. Chamorro-Premuzic, T., Furnham, A., Dissou, G., & Heaven, P. (2005). Personality and preference for academic assessment: a study with Australian University students. Learning and Individual Differences, 15(4), 247–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cole, J. S., & Gonya, R. M. (2010). Accuracy of self-reported SAT and ACT test scores: implications for research. Research in Higher Education, 51(4), 305–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Conard, M. A. (2006). Aptitude is not enough: how personality and behaviour predict academic performance. Journal of Research in Personality, 40(3), 339–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1995). Solid ground in the wetlands of personality. Psychological Bulletin, 117(2), 216–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrea, R. R. (1992). Manual for the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) and NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Odessa: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
  20. Crocker, L., & Algina, J. (1986). Introduction to classical and modern test theory. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers.Google Scholar
  21. Cronbach, L. J. (1951). Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests. Psychometrika, 16(3), 297–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Davy, J., Smith, K., & Rosenberg, D. (2010). Motivation and (un)ethical behavior: are there gender differences? Forum on Public Policy. Accessed 31 Mar 2011.
  23. De Fruyt, F., & Mervielde, I. (1996). Personality and interests as predictors of educational streaming and achievement. European Journal of Personality, 10(5), 405–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. De Raad, B. (1996). Personality traits in learning and education. European Journal of Personality, 10(3), 185–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Dollinguer, S. J., & Orf, L. A. (1991). Personality and performance in “personality”. Conscientiousness and openness. Journal of Research in Personality, 25(3), 276–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Donnellan, M. B., & Lucas, R. E. (2008). Age differences in the Big Five across the life span: evidence from two national samples. Psychology and Aging, 23(3), 558–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. El Ansari, W. (2002). Student nurse satisfaction levels with their courses: part I—effects of demographic variables. Nurse Education Today, 22(2), 159–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Farsides, T., & Woodfield, R. (2003). Individual differences and undergraduate academic success: the role of personality, intelligence and application. Personality and Individual Differences, 34(7), 1225–1243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Field, A. (2005). Discovering statistics using SPSS (2nd ed.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  30. Forgette-Giroux, R., Simon, M., & Larivière, M. B. (1996). Les pratiques d’évaluation des apprentissages en salle de classe: perception des enseignantes et des enseignants. Revue Canadienne de l’Education, 21(4), 384–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Fortier, M. S., Vallerand, R. J., & Guay, F. (1995). Academic motivation and school performance: toward a structural model. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 20(3), 257–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Furnham, A. (1996). The big five vs the big four: the relationship between the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and NEO-PI five factor model of personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 21(2), 303–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Furnham, A. (1997). Knowing and faking one’s five-factor personality score. Journal of Personality Assessment, 69(1), 229–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Furnham, A., & Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2004). Personality and intelligence as predictors of statistics examination grades. Personality and Individual Differences, 37(5), 943–955.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Furnham, A., & Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2005). Individual differences and beliefs concerning preference for university assessment methods. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 35(9), 1968–1994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Furnham, A., & Medhurst, S. (1995). Personality correlates of academic seminar behaviour: a study of four instruments. Personality and Individual Differences, 19(2), 197–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Furnham, A., Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & McDougall, F. (2003). Personality, cognitive ability, and beliefs about intelligence as predictors of academic performance. Learning and Individual Differences, 14(1), 47–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Furnham, A., Christopher, A., Garwood, J., & Martin, N. G. (2008). Ability, demography, learning style, and personality trait correlates of student preference for assessment method. Educational Psychology, 28(1), 15–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Furnham, A., Nuygards, S., & Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2013). Personality, assessment methods and academic performance. Instructional Science, 41(5), 975–987.Google Scholar
  40. Goff, M., & Ackerman, P. L. (1992). Personality intelligence relations: assessment of typical intellectual engagement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84(4), 537–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Gray, E. K., & Watson, D. (2002). General and specific traits of personality and their relation to sleep and academic performance. Journal of Personality, 70(2), 177–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hembree, R. (1988). Correlates, causes, effects, and treatment of test anxiety. Review of Educational Research, 58(1), 47–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hindi, N., & Miller, D. (2000). A survey of assessment practices in accounting departments of colleges and universities. Journal of Education for Business, 75(5), 286–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Holmgren, M. A. (2008). Assessment of student learning in MBA programs: a study of higher learning commission accredited institutions. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Lincoln University, Nebraska, USA.Google Scholar
  45. Jackson, C., & Tinkler, P. (2001). Back to basics: a consideration of the purposes of the PhD viva. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 26(4), 355–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. John, O. P., Naumann, L. P., & Soto, C. J. (2008). Paradigm shift to the integrative Big-Five trait taxonomy: history, measurement, and conceptual issues. In O. P. John, R. W. Robins, & L. A. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of personality: theory and research (pp. 114–158). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  47. Kevern, J., Ricketts, C., & Webbs, C. (1999). Pre-registration diploma students: a quantitative study of entry characteristics and course outcomes. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 30(4), 785–795.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kirk, B. A., & Sereda, L. (1969). Accuracy of self-reported college grade average and characteristics of non- and discrepant reporters. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 29(1), 147–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Kottke, J. L., & Shultz, K. S. (1997). Using an assessment center as a developmental tool for graduate students: a demonstration. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 12(5), 289–302.Google Scholar
  50. Kuncel, N. R., Credé, M., & Thomas, L. L. (2005). The reliability of self-reported grade point averages, class ranks, and test scores. Review of Educational Research, 75(1), 63–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lakhal, S., Frenette, É., Sévigny, S., & Khechine, H. (2012). Relationship between choice of a business major type (thing-oriented versus person-oriented) and Big Five personality traits. International Journal of Management Education, 10(2), 88–100.Google Scholar
  52. Lakhal, S., Sévigny, S., & Frenette, E. (2013). Personality and preference for evaluation methods: a study among business administration university students. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 39(2), 103–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Lievens, F., Coetsier, P., De Druyt, F., & De Maeseneer, J. (2002). Medical students’ personality characteristics and academic performance: a five-factor model perspective. Medical Education, 36(11), 1050–1056.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Lounsbury, J. W., Smith, R. M., Levy, J. J., Leon, F. T., & Gibson, L. W. (2009). Personality characteristics of business majors as defined by the Big Five and narrow personality traits. Journal of Education for Business, 84(4), 200–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Lucas, R. E., & Donnellan, M. B. (2009). Age differences in personality: evidence from a nationally representative Australian sample. Developmental Psychology, 45(5), 1353–1363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Martell, K. (2007). Assessing student learning: are business schools making the grade? Journal of Education for Business, 82(4), 189–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Mayer, R. E., Stull, A., Campbell, J., Almeroth, K., Bimber, B., Chun, D., & Knight, A. (2007). Overestimation bias in self-reported SAT scorers. Educational Psychology Review, 19(4), 443–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T., Jr. (1997). Personality trait structure as a human universal. American Psychologist, 52(5), 509–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. McKeachie, W. J., & Svinicki, M. (2006). Teaching tips: strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (12th ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  60. McKenzie, K., & Gow, K. (2004). Exploring the first year academic achievement of school leavers and mature-age students through structural equation modeling. Learning and Individual Differences, 14(2), 107–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. McKenzie, K., & Schweitzer, R. (2001). Who succeeds at university? Factors predicting academic performance in first year Australian university students. Higher Education Research and Development, 20(1), 21–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Naderi, H., Abdullah, R., Aizan, H. T., Sharir, J., & Kumar, V. (2009). Self-esteem, gender and academic achievement of undergraduate students. American Journal of Scientific Research, 3, 26–37.Google Scholar
  63. Ndinga, P. (2004). L’incidence de la fonction évaluative du test sur la relation entre la motivation des élèves à bien réussir et leurs scores. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada.Google Scholar
  64. Ndinga, P., & Frenette, E. (2010). Élaboration et validation de l’Échelle de motivation à bien réussir un test (ÉMRT). Mesure et évaluation en éducation, 33(3), 99–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Neisser, U., Boodoo, G., Bouchards, T. J., Jr., Boykin, A., Brody, N., Ceci, S. J., Halpern, D. F., Loehlin, J. C., Perloff, R., Sternberg, R. J., & Urbina, S. (1996). Intelligence: knowns and unknowns. American Psychologist, 51(2), 77–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Nonis, S. A., & Swift, C. O. (1998). Cheating behavior in the marketing classroom: an analysis of the effects of demographics, attitudes, and in-class deterrent strategies. Journal of Marketing Education, 20(3), 188–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. O’Connor, M. C., & Paunonen, S. V. (2007). Big Five personality predictors of post-secondary academic performance. Personality and Individual Differences, 43(5), 971–990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Ozer, D. J., & Benet-Martínez, V. (2006). Personality and the prediction of consequential outcomes. Annual Review of Psychology, 57, 401–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Palomba, C. A. (2001). Implementing effective assessment. In Assessing student competence in accredited disciplines. Pioneering approaches to assessment in higher education. Sterling: Stylus.Google Scholar
  70. Pascarella, E. T. (1980). Student-faculty informal contact and college outcomes. Review of Educational Research, 50(4), 545–595.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Paunonen, S. V. (1998). Hierarchical organization of personality and prediction of behaviour. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(2), 538–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Phillips, P., Abraham, C., & Bond, R. (2003). Personality, cognition and university students’ examination performance. European Journal of Personality, 17(6), 435–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Poropat, A. E. (2009). A meta-analysis of the Five-Factor Model of personality and academic performance. Psychological Bulletin, 135(2), 322–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Riggio, R. E., Aguirre, M., Mayes, B. T., Belloli, C., & Kubiak, C. (1997). The use of assessment center methods for student outcome assessment. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 12(5), 273–288.Google Scholar
  75. Riggio, R. E., Mayes, B. T., & Schleicher, D. J. (2003). Using assessment center methods for measuring undergraduate business student outcome. Journal of Management Inquiry, 12(1), 68–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Rolfhus, E., & Ackerman, P. L. (1999). Assessing individual differences in knowledge: knowledge, intelligence, and related traits. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(3), 511–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Rothstein, M. G., Paunonen, S. V., Rush, J. C., & King, G. A. (1994). Personality and cognitive ability predictors of performance in graduate business school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86(4), 516–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Rubinstein, G. (2005). The big five among male and female students of different faculties. Personality and Individual Differences, 38(7), 1495–1503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Sabourin, S., & Lussier, Y. (1992). Traduction française de l’inventaire de personnalité NEO-FFI [A French translation of the NEO-FFI]. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  80. Sanchez-Marin, M., Rejano-Infante, E., & Rodriguez-Troyano, Y. (2001). Personality and academic productivity in the university student. Social Behavior and Personality, 29(3), 299–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Schleigh, S. (2008). The interaction of assessment format and sex in assessing the knowledge structure coherence of middle school students’ understanding of the concept of force. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Arizona State University, Arizona, USA.Google Scholar
  82. Schmitt, D. P., Realo, A., Voracek, M., & Allik, J. (2008). Why can’t a man be more like a woman? Sex differences in Big Five personality traits across 55 cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(1), 168–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Schreiber, B. E., Fukuta, J., & Gordon, F. (2010). Live lecture versus video podcast in undergraduate medical education: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Medical Education, 10, 68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Sheard, M. (2009). Hardiness commitment, gender, and age differentiate university academic performance. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 79(1), 189–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Smith, K. J., Davy, J. A., Rosenbergc, D. L., & Haight, G. T. (2002). A structural modeling investigation of the influence of demographic and attitudinal factors and in-class deterrents on cheating behavior among accounting majors. Journal of Accounting Education, 20(1), 45–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Smith, K. J., Davy, J. A., & Easterling, D. S. (2004). An examination of cheating and its antecedents among marketing and management majors. Journal of Business Ethics, 50(10), 63–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Smith, K. J., Davy, J. A., Rosenbergc, D. L., & Haight, G. T. (2009). The role of motivation and attitude on cheating among business students. Journal of Academic and Business Ethics, 1, 12–37.Google Scholar
  88. Sternberg, R. J., & Kayfman, J. C. (1998). Human abilities. Annual Review of Psychology, 49, 479–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Tinto, V. (1975). Dropout from higher education: a theoretical synthesis of recent research. Review of Educational Research, 45(1), 89–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition (2nd ed.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  91. Trapmann, S., Hell, B., Hirn, J. O., & Shuler, H. (2007). Meta-analysis of the relationship between the big five and academic success at university. Journal of Psychology, 215(2), 132–151.Google Scholar
  92. Van Hiel, A., & Mervielde, I. (2004). Openness to experience and boundaries in the mind: relationships with cultural and economic conservative beliefs. Journal of Personality, 72(4), 659–686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Zhang, L. F. (2002). Thinking styles: their relationships with modes of thinking and academic performance. Educational Psychology, 22(3), 331–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Zoller, U., & Ben-Chaim, D. (1988). Interaction between examination type, anxiety state, and academic achievement in college science; an action-oriented research. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 26(1), 65–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Zoller, U., & Ben-Chaim, D. (1990). Gender differences in examination-type preferences, test anxiety, and academic achievements in college science education—a case study. Science Education, 74(6), 597–608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversité de SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationLaval UniversityQuebecCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationLaval UniversityQuebecCanada

Personalised recommendations