The impact of intellectual heterogeneity on academic performance in business education

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Academic and Business Research Institute


This study extends previous lines of research which have identified academic achievement determinates among undergraduate business students by analyzing the impact of intellectual variance on business education. A quantile regression approach is utilized to estimate whether the returns on certain student characteristics, most notably the variance in intellectual ability as signaled by ACT score distribution across student cohorts in undergraduate business programs, differ along the conditional distribution of their Major Field Test in Business (MFT-B) test scores. A systematic examination of the relationship between academic ability (using the ACT as a proxy) and academic achievement (measured by the MFT-B) found no significant effects of either hetero- or homogeneity in academic ability variance on academic achievement for high ability students. There was also no support for contentions that high ability students might be disadvantaged by the presence of low ability colleagues. Quite interestingly A positive and significant effect was found for lower ability students from 20th to 50th percentile of the MFT-B distribution. While intellectual or academic ability, as signaled by the ACT, certainly appears relevant in terms of individual achievement, there is no indication that an admissions policy which creates cohorts with heterogeneity of innate intellectual ability has any significant impact on the academic achievement high ability individuals and may in fact benefit lower ability individuals within that cohort. Limitations and further research opportunities are discussed.



Higher education, Educational tests & measurements


Bielinska-Kwapisz, A., Brown, F. William, 2012. The impact of intellectual heterogeneity on academic performance in business education. Research in Higher Education Journal, volume 16, p. 1-15.
Copyright (c) 2002-2022, LYRASIS. All rights reserved.