Assessing the relevance of academic competencies in college admission tests from a higher-order thinking perspective: A systematic review

  • Autores:
    Juan F. Luesia, Isabel Benítez, Rosalba Company Córdoba, Irene Gómez Gómez, Milagrosa Sánchez Martín
    Thinking Skills and Creativity
    Año: 2023


The evaluation of students’ competencies to face the challenges of university studies has mainly focused on the assessment of cognitive abilities through intelligence tests in the admission context. The results from previous studies demonstrate the predictive capacity of these abilities for subsequent university performance. However, current policies are aimed to identifying competencies from a broader approach, such as higher-order thinking skills (HOTS), that may influence college success in the admission testing context. A systematic review of the literature was carried out with the aim of extracting the most relevant competencies included in admission processes that predict academic success. A total of 2681 original articles were identified. Of them, 42 met the inclusion criteria established according to the review carried out by two independent researchers. Following a peer-review procedure, the competencies assessed in incoming university students were coded and analyzed. Academic performance was explained by cognitive abilities, self-regulated learning (SRL) skills, and soft skills. Among the competencies assessed, the role of cognitive abilities such as numerical reasoning and verbal reasoning in academic success was highlighted. Within the SRL skills, the findings point to the relevance of critical thinking, effort regulation, time/study management, self-directed learning, leadership, and collaboration. Finally, soft skills such as conscientiousness, professionalism, internal locus of control, self-efficacy, and social responsibility, were also highlighted. The conclusions of the present study will help develop comprehensive competence assessments and educational resources focused on better preparing students before starting university studies, in line with the 21st century skills framework and 2030 Agenda policies.

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