An investigation of self-appraised cognition versus measured cognition

  • H L Botha
  • S A du Plessis


The central question in this investigation was whether there is a common factor providing some explanation why students with similar final school results perform differently at first-year university level. The underlying hypothesis was: the more students believe they are cognitively capable and equipped to achieve success at university level, the better they perform academically. A description is provided of a questionnaire used in this investigation which also forms part of a tracking system at Stellenbosch University. With the results of this questionnaire for three cohorts of first-year students of the years 2002, 2003 and 2004 grouped together in subgroups (based on final school year performance and including a group of Extended Degree Programme students), it is demonstrated that there is a strong relationship between high self-appraised cognition as measured in the questionnaire and successful performance at university level. These findings are corroborated by international research which is referred to in the article. The implications of this investigation are far-reaching in terms of the necessity to regard a student holistically, to realise the importance of how students appraise themselves cognitively, and the need to pay special attention to building a healthy self-concept.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 21 (4) 2007: pp. 608-627

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eISSN: 1011-3487