Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching, Leadership & Professional Practice

First Advisor

Bonni Gourneau


Albeit college success predictors such as hs-GPA, SAT I, and SAT II have been widely addressed in the literature, most of the studies have covered total scores and cognitive factors while barely investigating the potential interaction of demographic factors (e.g., STEM versus Non-STEM) and specific academic domains that might drive academic success (e.g., hs-Math and hs-English, university core courses). Most importantly, very little is known of predictors of academic success in institutions of the Global South that follow a US curriculum and pedagogy, including those of Saudi Arabia. The identification of predictors of college performance is important as it can inform changes in counseling, academic advising, instruction (including ordinary practices and targeted interventions), and admission. This study focused on the academic performance of male and female students who graduated from a university in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that follows a US curriculum and a student-centered pedagogy. It took place at a time of social change for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which entails a rapid transition from a strict patriarchal structure to one that promotes gender equity and globalized educational standards. The study examined the degree to which high-school Grade Point Average (hs-GPA), a standardized test, such as the GAT (equivalent to the SAT I), Tahsili (equivalent to the SAT II), and gender, and major (STEM versus non-STEM) could predict GPA in the freshman year and at graduation (a composite measure of academic success). Findings showed that the selected predictors were differentially influential for male and female students in STEM and non-STEM majors. Overall, cognitive measures only partially explained a significant percentage of both first-year GPA and GPA at graduation for both genders and majors. The implications of these findings for college education in the Middle East are discussed.