Nathan Kuncel

Nathan Kuncel
University of Minnesota Twin Cities | UMN · Department of Psychology

About

83
Publications
61,972
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7,682
Citations
Citations since 2017
27 Research Items
4269 Citations
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20172018201920202021202220230200400600800
20172018201920202021202220230200400600800

Publications

Publications (83)
Article
In this meta‐analysis, correlations of personality traits and career decision‐making self‐efficacy with self and environmental career exploration were estimated across 71 samples and a pairwise sample of 19,846. Traits included the Big Five personality traits, shyness, locus of control, vocational decision styles, and stress. Many measures of caree...
Article
Research on personality predictors of academic success is plentiful, with past research focusing primarily on college populations and studying traditional personality predictors, such as the Big Five, and traditional academic outcomes, namely GPA. However, less is known about lower grade levels and other outcomes. This meta-analysis examines resear...
Article
The Woo et al. review (this issue) provides a foundation for considering the larger goals of higher education. We step back to consider the broader goals and ideals of higher education. Fundamentally, we want to admit a diverse set of students into graduate school and then produce the most accomplished scientists, artists, leaders, and innovators....
Article
There is a U.S. workforce shortage in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, with women often being underrepresented. To explore gender differences in the completion of a STEM degree, we examined predictors of persistence from the time of college application through the end of the fourth year of college for 40,974 undergra...
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Full-text available
Research on the STEM educational pipeline has focused on degree attainment, finding that students who take STEM courses in high school are more likely to declare a STEM major later on (Gottfried & Bozick, Education Finance and Policy 11:177–202, 2016) and tend to perform better in college (Sadler & Tai, Science Education, 85(2). 2001). Similarly, e...
Article
Expert judges often claim to utilize expert insight to tailor judgments to maximize predictive validity for a specific context. We evaluated multi-organizational assessment data regarding the prediction of supervisory ratings of job performance from ratings on individual assessment dimensions, finding no evidence that the average expert assessor ef...
Article
Providing assessment validity information to decision makers in a clear and useful format is an ongoing challenge for the educational and psychological measurement community. We identify issues with a previous approach to a graphical presentation, noting that it is mislabeled as presenting incremental validity, when in fact it displays the effects...
Article
The literature is replete with references to a disproportionate reliance on admission test scores (e.g., the ACT or SAT) in the college admissions process. School-reported reliance on test scores and grades has been used to study this question, generally indicating relatively equal reliance on the two, with a slightly higher endorsement of grades....
Article
Despite the established validity of personality measures for personnel selection, their susceptibility to faking has been a persistent concern. However, the lack of studies that combine generalizability with experimental control makes it difficult to determine the effects of applicant faking. This study addressed this deficit in two ways. First, we...
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Full-text available
The important but difficult choice of vocational trajectory often takes place in college, beginning with majoring in a subject and taking relevant coursework. Of all possible disciplines, pre-medical studies are often not a formally defined major but pursued by a substantial proportion of the college population. Understanding students’ experiences...
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Over a century of research has focused on the relationship between student characteristics and academic dishonesty. Here we conduct a meta-analysis of this extensive literature across three broad domains: personality, academic attitudes, and historical information including demographic and prior accomplishments. After analyzing correlations from ov...
Article
Measures of biographical data, or biodata, provide indicators of one's life history and past experiences. Biodata information is often available in various forms during processes of academic admissions to higher education. Such information can be used, in combination with other factors, to predict students’ future academic and extra‐curricular acco...
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Understanding which students enter and leave psychology majors in college is critical to understanding the pipeline into the field. In this study, we compared psychology majors with nonpsychology majors on the basis of demographic, degree planning, academic preparedness, and academic performance variables using a unique longitudinal sample of nearl...
Chapter
Higher Education Admissions Practices - edited by María Elena Oliveri January 2020
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This quantitative synthesis of 448 independent studies including 480,830 families revealed small positive associations (rs = .13 to .23) between parents' naturally occurring involvement in children's schooling and children's academic adjustment (i.e., achievement, engagement, and motivation) that were maintained over time. Parents' involvement was...
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We illustrate the effects of range restriction and a form of criterion contamination (individual differences in course-taking patterns) on the validity of SAT scores for predicting college academic performance. College data facilitate exploration of differential validity’s determinants because they (a) permit the use multivariate range-restriction...
Article
College students commonly have considerable course choice, and they can differ substantially in the proportion of their coursework taken at an advanced level. While advanced coursework is generally viewed as a desirable component of a student's education, research has rarely explored differences in student course‐taking patterns as a measure of aca...
Article
We explore potential explanations for validity degradation using a unique predictive validation data set containing up to four consecutive years of high school students’ cognitive test scores and four complete years of those students’ college grades. This data set permits analyses that disentangle the effects of predictor-score age and timing of cr...
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The modern web-based technology greatly popularizes computer-administered testing, also known as online testing. When these online tests are administered continuously within a certain “testing window,” many items are likely to be exposed and compromised, posing a type of test security concern. In addition, if the testing time is limited, another re...
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It is common to add an additional predictor to a selection system with the goal of increasing criterion-related validity. Research on the incremental validity of a second predictor is generally based on forming a regression-weighted composite of the predictors. However, in practice predictors are commonly used in ways other than regression-weighted...
Article
The literature on differential prediction of college performance of racial/ethnic minority students for standardized tests and high school grades indicates the use of these predictors often results in overprediction of minority student performance. However, these studies typically involve native English-speaking students. In contrast, a smaller lit...
Article
Extensive research has examined the validity and fairness of standardized tests in academic admissions. However, due to their underrepresentation in higher education, American Indians have gained much less attention in this research. In the present study, we examined for American Indian students (1) group differences on SAT scores, (2) the predicti...
Article
This article reviews 100 years of research on individual differences and their measurement, with a focus on research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. We focus on 3 major individual differences domains: (a) knowledge, skill, and ability, including both the cognitive and physical domains; (b) personality, including integrity, emotional...
Article
The prevalence of homeschooling in the United States is increasing. Yet little is known about how commonly used predictors of postsecondary academic performance (SAT, high school grade point average [HSGPA]) perform for homeschooled students. Postsecondary performance at 140 colleges and universities was analyzed comparing a sample of traditional s...
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Previous research has established that SAT scores and high school grade point average (HSGPA) differ in their predictive power and in the size of mean differences across racial/ethnic groups. However, the SAT is scaled nationally across all test takers while HSGPA is scaled locally within a school. In this study, the researchers propose that this d...
Article
Recent research has shown that admissions tests retain the vast majority of their predictive power after controlling for socioeconomic status (SES), and that SES provides only a slight increment over SAT and high school grades (high school grade point average [HSGPA]) in predicting academic performance. To address the possibility that these overall...
Article
Organizations often rely on the match between job requirements and test content to justify test use. This practice has been questioned on the grounds that content validation has little relevance to criterion-related validation due to positive manifold among predictors. We analyze two large databases to assess the implications of test content for (a...
Article
Women typically obtain higher subsequent college GPAs than men with the same admissions test score. A common reaction is to attribute this to a flaw in the admissions test. We explore the possibility that this underprediction of women's performance reflects gender differences in conscientiousness and college course-taking patterns. In Study 1, we f...
Article
Little is known about the reliability of college grades relative to how prominently they are used in educational research, and the results to date tend to be based on small sample studies or are decades old. This study uses two large databases (N > 800,000) from over 200 educational institutions spanning 13 years and finds that both first-year and...
Article
Educators view critical thinking as an essential skill, yet it remains unclear how effectively it is being taught in college. This meta-analysis synthesizes research on gains in critical thinking skills and attitudinal dispositions over various time frames in college. The results suggest that both critical thinking skills and dispositions improve s...
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Local validity studies rely on the assumption that validity estimates from one incumbent sample approximate validity for future applicant pools. We test this assumption using SAT scores and high school grades as predictors of first year college grade point average across multiple college applicant pools for over 100 schools. We present evidence for...
Article
Ree, Carretta, and Teachout's (2015) arguments for recognizing the importance of general factors are mostly on point, but they neglect two broad issues: (a) an important theoretical problem introduced by the presence of multiple factors (general, group, specific) and (b) the criterion validity of group factors in certain settings.
Article
Grade inflation threatens the integrity of college grades as indicators of academic achievement. In this study, we contribute to the literature on grade inflation by providing the first estimate of the size of grade increases at the student level between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s. By controlling for student characteristics and course-taking patte...
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The relative independence of cognitive ability measures from socio-economic status (SES) continues to be a source of debate in work and academic settings. This paper examines the contribution of cognitive ability and SES in predicting subsequent work performance and evaluations of career potential. When predicting job performance, SES contributed v...
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Full-text available
Letters of recommendation are used extensively in academic admissions and personnel selection. Despite their prominence, comparatively little is known about their predictive power for multiple outcomes. This meta-analysis combine the existing literature for college grade point average (GPA), academic outcomes of GPA, performance ratings, degree att...
Article
In employee selection and academic admission decisions, holistic (clinical) data combination methods continue to be relied upon and preferred by practitioners in our field. This meta-analysis examined and compared the relative predictive power of mechanical methods versus holistic methods in predicting multiple work (advancement, supervisory rating...
Article
Ongoing concern about the construct validity of assessment center dimensions has focused on postexercise dimension ratings (PEDRs) that are consistently found to reflect exercise variance to a greater degree than dimension variance. Here, we present a solution to this problem. Based on the argument that PEDRs are an intermediate step toward an over...
Article
This article examines the role of socioeconomic status (SES) in the relationships among college admissions-test scores, secondary school grades, and subsequent academic performance. Scores on the SAT (a test widely used in the admissions process in the United States), secondary school grades, college grades, and SES measures from 143,606 students a...
Article
Previous research has demonstrated that cognitive test validities are generalizable and predictive of academic performance across situations. However, even after accounting for statistical artifacts (e.g., sampling error, range restriction, criterion reliability), substantial variability often remains around estimates of cognitive test–performance...
Article
In this chapter we review the research and concept of predictive bias, present a new theory of when and how predictive bias will occur, and create a list of methodological and substantive confounds that complicate research on predictive bias. We note that educational and organizational researchers have often used different methods to operationalize...
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Full-text available
We make a series recommendations for focusing research on personality test faking. Overall we suggest that a focus on the response process test takers go through will accelerate our understanding of faking behavior. We argue that the decision making process for faking must be simple and dependent on a modest set of decision rules or heuristics. The...
Article
This chapter presents a framework for considering faking from an item response perspective. This view argues that responding to personality items should be viewed from the perspective of the test taker and that it is fundamentally a social interaction not unlike an interview or conversation. Test takers are attempting to manage a unidirectional soc...
Article
The purpose of this meta-analysis was to examine the power of key admission and nursing school variables for predicting performance on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). A meta-analysis of 31 independent samples across 7,159 participants yielded correlation estimates for 13 different predictors. Results ind...
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Full-text available
Standardized measures of intelligence, ability, or achievement are all measures of acquired knowledge and skill and have consistent relationships with multiple facets of success in life, including academic and job performance. Five persistent beliefs about ability tests have developed, including: (a) that there is no relationship with important out...
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Full-text available
Ongoing research on measures of individual differences (personality, cognitive ability, and admissions tests) has revealed their importance in academic success (including outcomes beyond college grades), work success (including objective and subjective measures of job performance), and everyday life (including divorce and mortality). Despite the bo...
Article
Extensive research has examined the effectiveness of admissions tests for use in higher education. What has gone unexamined is the extent to which tests are similarly effective for predicting performance at both the master’s and doctoral levels. This study empirically synthesizes previous studies to investigate whether or not the Graduate Record Ex...
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This paper calls into question traditional methods of measuring the social desirability of items and their use in scale construction. First, we make explicit that the proper focus for desirability studies of items and traits are the rated desirabilities of the alternative item responses indicating different trait levels. Second, the results from ou...
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Full-text available
Critics of educational admissions tests assert that tests measure nothing more than socioeconomic status (SES) and that their apparent validity in predicting academic performance is an artifact of SES. The authors examined multiple large data sets containing data on admissions and related tests, SES, and grades showing that (a) SES is related to te...
Article
Personal statements are a widely used and popular predictor in academic admissions; however, relatively little is known about their effectiveness as a predictor of student performance. This study involved a meta-analysis of the relationships of personal statements to measures of student performance (e.g., GPA) and other predictors. An initial searc...
Article
Study habit, skill, and attitude inventories and constructs were found to rival standardized tests and previous grades as predictors of academic performance, yielding substantial incremental validity in predicting academic performance. This meta-analysis (N = 72,431, k = 344) examines the construct validity and predictive validity of 10 study skill...
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Full-text available
The ability of personality traits to predict important life outcomes has traditionally been questioned because of the putative small effects of personality. In this article, we compare the predictive validity of personality traits with that of socioeconomic status (SES) and cognitive ability to test the relative contribution of personality traits t...
Article
Goff and Ackerman’s (1992) Typical Intellectual Engagement scale and the Need for Cognition scale (Cacioppo, Petty, & Kao, 1984) correlated with each other near the limits of their reliabilities, and were quite interchangeable in convergent–discriminant relations with other variables. We argue that these two scales may be measuring essentially the...
Article
This study presents a new method for developing faking detection scales based on idiosyncratic item-response patterns. Two scoring schemes based on this approach strongly differentiated between scores obtained under honest vs directed faking conditions in cross-validation samples (rpb=.45 and .67). This approach is shown to successfully classify be...
Article
The Non-Cognitive Questionnaire (NCQ) is a 23-item measure assessing eight noncognitive variables that are thought to predict the performance and retention of students in college. The NCQ is widely used in research and practice. This study is a meta-analytic review of the validity of scores on the NCQ across 47 independent samples for predicting ac...
Article
Unlike previous research that found small differences between population standard deviations and applicant pool standard deviations (P. R. Sackett & D. J. Ostgaard, 1994; D. S. Ones & C. Viswesvaran, 2003), this study revealed a 23% disparity between Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores of all LSAT test takers and those of LSAT test takers who a...
Article
Considerable debate both within and outside of academic circles surrounds the validity of standardized tests for predicting student performance in graduate business schools. This meta-analysis aggregates the existing literature on the validity of the two most heavily used predictors in business school admissions: the GMAT and undergraduate grade po...
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Full-text available
Standardized admissions tests are valid predictors of many aspects of student success across academic and applied fields.
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Comments on the article by Vasquez and Jones (see record 2006-01690-003), in which they put forward the argument that standardized tests do not evaluate much of anything worthwhile and do not assess merit. The current authors argue that Vasquez and Jones support their argument only through highly selective citations from the literature, and they di...
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Full-text available
Objectives. Compare the validity of the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) and prepharmacy grade point average (GPA) in predicting performance in pharmacy school and professional licensing examinations. Methods. To quantitatively aggregate results across previous studies of the validity of the PCAT, the Hunter and Schmidt psychometric meta-anal...
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Full-text available
Self-reported grades are heavily used in research and applied settings because of the importance of grades and the convenience of obtaining self-reports. This study reviews and meta-analytically summarizes the literature on the accuracy of self-reported grades, class ranks, and test scores. Results based on a pairwise sample of 60,926 subjects indi...
Article
The Review of Higher Education 28.3 (2005) 439-440 Standardized tests, though valid predictors of subsequent success, are designed to measure one specific set of individual differences. Other characteristics of students and the environments in which they study also affect their success. Unfortunately, current efforts to quantify other relevant char...
Article
This meta-analysis addresses the question of whether 1 general cognitive ability measure developed for predicting academic performance is valid for predicting performance in both educational and work domains. The validity of the Miller Analogies Test (MAT; W. S. Miller, 1960) for predicting 18 academic and work-related criteria was examined. MAT co...
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Full-text available
This meta-analysis examined the validity of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and undergraduate grade point average (UGPA) as predictors of graduate school performance. The study included samples from multiple disciplines, considered different criterion measures, and corrected for statistical artifacts. Data from 1,753 independent samples were...
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Full-text available
Comments on the article by R. J. Sternberg and W. M. Williams (see record 1997-04591-002) regarding the empirical validity of the Graduate Record Examination in predicting graduate student performance in psychology. It is argued that although Sternberg and Williams addressed an important topic, they purposely did not use what are now widely accept...
Article
Full-text available
Comments on the article by R. J. Sternberg and W. M. Williams (see record 1997-04591-002) regarding the empirical validity of the Graduate Record Examination in predicting graduate student performance in psychology. It is argued that although Sternberg and Williams addressed an important topic, they purposely did not use what are now widely accepte...
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Minnesota, 2003. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 152-193).
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Thesis (M.A.)--University of Minnesota, 1999. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 69-73)

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Our goal is to build a community of researchers interested in curiosity across development and across contexts. We seek to develop an interdisciplinary reading list and discussions around measuring and promoting curiosity.