Cognitive and Personality Predictors of School Performance From Preschool to Secondary School: An Overarching Model

Andreas Demetriou, George Spanoudis, Constantios Christou, Samuel Greiff, Nikolaos Makris, Mari-Pauliina Vainikainen, Hudson Golino, Elefteria Gonida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Downloads (Pure)


In this article, existing research investigating how school performance relates to cognitive, selfawareness, language, and personality processes is reviewed. We outline the architecture of the mind, involving a general factor, g, that underlies distinct mental processes (i.e., executive, reasoning, language, cognizance, and personality processes). From preschool to adolescence, g shifts from executive to reasoning and cognizance processes; personality also changes, consolidating in adolescence. There are three major trends in the existing literature: (a) All processes are highly predictive of school achievement if measured alone, each accounting for ∼20% of its variance; (b) when measured together, cognitive processes (executive functions and representational awareness in preschool and fluid intelligence after late primary school) dominate as predictors (over ∼50%), drastically absorbing self-concepts and personality dispositions that drop to ∼3%–5%; and (c) predictive power changes according to the processes forming g at successive levels: attention control and representational awareness in preschool (∼85%); fluid intelligence, language, and working memory in primary school (∼53%); fluid intelligence, language, self-evaluation, and school-specific self-concepts in secondary school (∼70%). Stability and plasticity of personality emerge as predictors in secondary school. A theory of educational priorities is proposed, arguing that (a) executive and awareness processes; (b) information management; and (c) reasoning, self-evaluation, and flexibility in knowledge building must dominate in preschool, primary, and secondary school, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 3


Dive into the research topics of 'Cognitive and Personality Predictors of School Performance From Preschool to Secondary School: An Overarching Model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this