The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between cognitive and noncognitive variables, and academic performance among Physician Assistant (PA) students. Noncognitive variables (i.e. personality traits) were assessed using the Big Five Inventory and the Marlowe Crown Social Desirability Scale. Academic performance outcomes were defined by the participants’ preclinical GPA, clinical GPA, PACKRAT score, PANCE score, and PANCE pass/fail. Cognitive variables were assessed using participants’ overall preadmission GPA and science GPA. The study followed 146 PA student participants’ in seven class cohorts, from matriculation to graduation (first time PANCE). Pearson correlations were computed for each of the cognitive and noncognitive traits’ relationship to each of the Big Five personality traits (conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience and extraversion) and academic success variables. Regression analysis was conducted for each of the cognitive and noncognitive traits’ relationship to each of the Big Five personality traits and academic success variables. Overall, three of the Big Five personality traits (conscientiousness, agreeableness, and extraversion) positively correlate with one or more academic success variable. Specifically, agreeableness seemed to be the most reliable predictor of academic performance. Cognitive variables (overall preadmission and science GPA) positively correlate with one or more academic success variable. The results of the study suggest physician assistant applicants’ prior success and their individual personality traits predict PA school academic performance. Finally, implications, limitations, and cognitive and noncognitive considerations in the admission process are discussed.
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Nilson, W. A. (2016). Big Five Personality Traits and Other Predictors of Academic Success in Physician Assistant Students [Doctoral dissertation, Bethel University]. Spark Repository. https://spark.bethel.edu/etd/470