Parents are often worried about how well their children perform in school. Academics, of course, plays a great part in a child’s development, but a recent study on has found that conscientiousness may also have a positive effect on a child as he goes through school life.

Researchers at Rice University in the US looked at what experts call the “Big Five” personality traits: agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness to experience. Interestingly, they found that among the five traits, only conscientiousness has a direct correlation with higher grades.

"Research on these personality tests helps us gain a better understanding of how various personality traits may affect academic outcomes and other important life outcomes," says study lead author Sam McAbee, a psychology graduate student at Rice University.

The researchers reviewed 51 previously conducted studies with over 26,000 total participants. The studies measured grade-point averages of college-student participants who were asked to evaluate themselves by agreeing or disagreeing with statements about themselves. The answers were then weighed against the most common types of personality tests, each referencing the Five-Factor Model of Personality. The results were clear: students who were conscientious--analytical, methodic in their work, and have the desire to excel--have higher overall grades than their peers.

"Grade point average is just one of many factors that can predict student performance and long-term success," McAbee explains. "We hope our findings will encourage research that investigates how different personality traits impact important outcomes."

(Photo by Enokson via Flickr Creative Commons)

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