THE INFLUENCE OF COGNITIVE ABILITY AND EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
A primary objective of higher education is to assist students in the area of cognitive development. When cognitive ability is developed and maintained at an optimal level, students can effectively manage and use pieces of information to solve complex problems. Research provides evidence that cognitive ability plays a critical role in predicting academic achievement. Research also notes that emotions play an essential role in cognitive ability, and cognitive ability may be easier or more difficult because of the emotional state. This study, one of the few to investigate the relationship between cognitive ability and academic performance within various outputs of upper-level accounting courses at a major US university, finds that students in accounting courses can leverage their cognitive ability to achieve higher performance in the classroom. This study found that cognitive ability is positively related to data analytics assignment grades and shows the importance of cognitive ability in helping to elevate one’s ability to use data analytics effectively. However, emotional intelligence (EI) was not found to moderate the relationship between a student’s cognitive ability and academic performance. This study is significant because it is one of the few studies on cognitive ability using a measurement that can separate the structure of a performance (indicative of a cognitive-developmental level) from the base content of a performance.