Jonas Enge
Jonas Enge@maccyber
How Personality Influences School Performance

How Personality Influences School Performance

3 min read

Personality: The Unseen Driver of Academic Success

When it comes to school performance, we often focus on measurable skills like reading and math. However, a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Oslo has revealed that personality traits play a crucial role in academic success from an early age.

The Big Five and School Performance

The research focused on the "Big Five" personality traits: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. These traits are inherent to some degree in every individual and can influence behavior, emotions, and even academic outcomes.

Openness and Conscientiousness: The Stars of School Success

Among the Big Five, two traits stand out for their impact on school performance: Openness and Conscientiousness. Students who score high in Openness are curious and imaginative, often excelling in subjects that require creative thinking and problem-solving. Conscientious students, with their discipline and organized approach, tend to perform well across all academic areas due to their ability to stay focused and complete tasks effectively.

Neuroticism: A Potential Hurdle

Conversely, the trait of Neuroticism, which is associated with emotional instability and anxiety, has been linked to lower academic performance. The anxiety and stress that often accompany high levels of Neuroticism can interfere with a student's ability to focus and perform well in test situations.

Extraversion and Agreeableness: Minimal but Positive Effects

Extraversion and Agreeableness showed smaller, yet positive associations with academic performance. Extraverts may not always outperform introverts academically, but their sociability can lead to better interactions and networking with peers and teachers. Agreeable students tend to cooperate more with others, which can be beneficial in group projects and collaborative learning environments.

Beyond Genetics: The Role of Environment

An intriguing aspect of this research is its use of sibling comparisons to rule out family environment and upbringing effects. By focusing on siblings with different personality traits, researchers could more accurately isolate the influence of personality on academic performance. The findings suggest that while genetics and home environment contribute to personality development, individual traits uniquely affect educational outcomes regardless of these factors.

Practical Implications for Education

These insights have significant implications for education systems. Recognizing the impact of personality traits on learning can help educators tailor their teaching methods to better meet the needs of diverse student personalities. For instance, fostering an environment that values curiosity can help open students thrive, while providing structured and calm settings might benefit those high in Conscientiousness or combat the negative effects of Neuroticism.

Conclusion: Personality Matters

In sum, personality is not just a part of who we are; it's a pivotal factor that can drive educational success or pose challenges. By understanding and supporting students' personality traits, educators and parents can enhance educational strategies and foster environments that promote academic success across a variety of personality types. This holistic approach to education underscores the importance of adapting to individual differences, paving the way for all students to achieve their potential.


Big Five personality traits
academic performance
school success
student behavior
educational psychology
personality impact on learning
neuroticism and education
conscientiousness in students
openness and creativity
agreeableness and teamwork
extraversion in school