Non-Cognitive Variable Assessment

Our Noncognitive Variable Assessment (NVA) is a university-wide initiative designed to assess how we can best support incoming students. This assessment measures several "non-academic" factors that have been proven to connect to college success. Scores from the assessment will be used to proactively refer students to campus resources and to help us as a university understand what we can do in the future to best support our students.

All incoming freshmen will be asked to complete the NVA prior to arriving on campus. The assessment is made of up 26 multiple choice questions and measures eight different variables. The variables being measured have been empirically shown to connect to student success, based on decades of research by Dr. William Sedlacek. For more information about the NVA, click one of the links to the right or contact the CLC at


What are the Variables?

The eight noncognitive variables being measured were identified by Dr. William Sedlacek. His research has shown these eight variables to be predictive of student success. (The following definitions have been directly quoted from Sedlacek’s 2017 book, Measuring Noncognitive Variables: Improving Admissions, Success, and Retention for Underrepresented Students)

Positive self-concept - The student demonstrates confidence, strength of character, determination, and independence.

Realistic self-appraisal - The student recognizes and accepts any strengths and deficiencies, especially academic, and works hard at self-development. The student recognizes the need to broaden his or her individuality.

Understands and knows how to navigate the system and racism - The student exhibits a realistic view of the system based on his or her personal experiences, is committed to improving the existing system, and takes an assertive approach to dealing with existing wrongs but is not hostile to society or a “cop-out.” The student is able to handle the system and any “isms” he or she might experience.

Prefers long-range goals to short-term or immediate needs - The student is able to respond to deferred gratification, plan ahead, and set goals.

Availability of a strong support person - The student seeks and takes advantage of a strong support network or has someone to turn to in a crisis or for encouragement.

Successful leadership experience - The student demonstrates strong leadership in any area of his or her background (e.g., church, sports, non-educational groups, gangs).

Demonstrated community service - The student participates in and is involved with his or her community.

Knowledge acquired in or about a field (nontraditional learning) - The student acquires knowledge in sustained and/or culturally related ways in any field.