"The Role of Non-cognitive Variables in Identifying Community College Students in Need of Targeted Supports"
Non-academic characteristics and traits, such as academic self-efficacy and conscientiousness, have maintained the interest of higher education researchers for decades. A considerable amount of research has found that these non-cognitive variables (NCVs) are generally predictive of undergraduate success. However, most prior studies have focused on the use of NCVs in 4-year colleges, and understanding if and how these measures predict the academic trajectories of community college students has received less attention. As past work has indicated that NCVs are differentially predictive for students from different backgrounds, such an examination is needed. Drawing on data from two diverse community colleges, our study addresses this need by exploring if seven popular NCVs predict both short and longer-term student outcomes, how these measures are related to help-seeking behaviors, and their utility in identifying students at risk of serious academic failures. We find statistically significant relationships between NCVs and GPA outcomes but conclude that their practical utility appears trivial.