Grade Expectations: Informed or Uninformed Optimism, or Both?

Soren Svanum, Silvia Bigatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


We investigated optimistic grade expectations among 258 college students from 2 contrasting perspectives: optimism as uninformed wishfulness and as an informed aspirational judgment. Results revealed considerable grade optimism; most students (70%) overestimated an average of 1 full grade. Grade expectations moderately predicted final grade but not course effort after adjusting for cumulative grade point average (GPA). Grade optimism and predictive accuracy differed as a function of GPA. For most students (upper two thirds on GPA), grade expectations accurately predicted performance, suggesting a mixture of self-knowledge and realistic aspirations, or informed optimism. For less accomplished students, grade optimism may be more uninformed wishfulness, the solution to which may be student skill improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-18
Number of pages5
JournalTeaching of Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Psychology(all)

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