Skip to main content


Table 1 Overview of significant cognitive predictors for academic achievement in science courses at university or college

From: Assessing prior knowledge types as predictors of academic achievement in the introductory phase of biology and physics study programmes using logistic regression

Subject Biology or physics in high school Subject-specific grade in high school Number of lab courses Subject-specific tests in biology or physics Reference
(Number of AP courses, enrolment in AP biology)

Loehr et al. (2012)

(Science, AP exam score)
Sadler & Tai (2007)

Lee et al. (2015)

Smith, Wood, & Knight (2008)
Physics ǂ
(Physics enrolment)

(Mechanics test)
Halloun & Hestenes (1985)

(Physics enrolment)
Hart & Cottle (1993)

(Physics enrolment)
Alters (1995)

(At least 2 years of physics, enrolment of any physics course)

Sadler & Tai (2001)

(Science, AP exam score)
Sadler & Tai (2007)

Docktor & Heller (2008)


(Physics test)
Sorge, Petersen, & Neumann (2016)

(Physics tests)
Buschhüter, Spoden, & Borowski (2017)

(Time on mechanics and optics)


Hazari, Tai, & Sadler (2007)
  1. CINS Concept Inventory on Natural Selection (Anderson, Fischer, & Norman, 2002), ACORNS Assessment of Contextual Reasoning on Natural Selection (Nehm, Beggrow, Opfer, & Ha, 2012), GCA Genetics Concept Assessment (Smith, Wood & Knight, 2008), FCI Force Concept Inventory (Hestenes, Wells, & Swaghammer, 1992)
  2. ǂVariable only significant for the college sample, but not for the university sample
  3. ✗Variable not significant
  4. Variable significant