Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Soyeon Ahn

Second Committee Member

Tywan G. Martin

Third Committee Member

Nicholas Myers

Fourth Committee Member

Brian Orefice


Completing a college degree benefits both the individual and society and as data show, students are starting college, but not persisting through graduation. The purpose of this study was to examine the importance of a non-cognitive trait, grit, in predicting first year academic performance, as academic performance has been found to be the best indicator of students persisting through graduation. The secondary data obtained from the first year students at a private highly selective institution was analyzed using Hierarchical Multiple Regression analysis. The results of the study showed that gender, SAT scores, race, and the perseverance subscale score of grit measured by the Grit-S were found to be significant in predicting first year GPA. The results suggest that higher education administrators and faculty should foster perseverance in students in an effort to increase academic performance. Perseverance in students can be developed through learning strategies interventions, academic support, classroom/learning experiences and faculty contact. Future research on grit includes gathering data from a national sample in order to increase the generalizability of the findings, as well as validating the factor structure of grit and empirically testing its effect in relation to student academic performance.


Grit; Academic performance in college