Food for Thought Friday: What Predicts Students’ Success?

by Kristie Burk

In a recent article in the Huffington Post called “Why Schools Should Pay More Attention To Students’ Grit And Self-Control,” Rebecca Klein writes, “It may be just as important to evaluate schools based on students’ levels of motivation and perseverance as it is to judge them based on students’ standardized test scores.”  Her assertion is based on a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research released this past December that shows that non-cognitive skills, such as grit and self-control, are just as important at predicting student success as intelligence.  Interestingly, the researchers also argue that schools have a better chance of improving students’ motivation and perseverance than their cognitive skills.

“Right now we’re really relying on achievement tests — schools can be shut down if they don’t improve their achievement tests every year,” said Kautz, a senior research assistant and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago. “But it turns out they aren’t all that predictive of the outcomes we really care about.”

You can read the entire study here. Let us know what you think at


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