Educators are looking at ways to develop non-cognitive skills that are keys to success, such as grit, tenacity and perseverance.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Education released a 126-page draft report that examines in-depth at how the educational community can explore ways to design learning environments that promote these factors.
The DOE report, “Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century,” begins with a quote by John Easton, the Director of the Department of Education Institute of Educational Sciences. He is quoted as saying, “The test score accountability movement has pushed aside many of these so-called ‘non-cognitive’ or ‘soft’ skills, and they belong back on the front burner.”
The summary of the report is as follows: How can we best prepare children and adolescents to thrive in the 21st century—an era of achievement gaps that must be closed for the benefit of everyone in society, rapidly evolving technology, demanding and collaborative STEM knowledge work, changing workforce needs, and economic volatility? The test score accountability movement and conventional educational approaches tend to focus on intellectual aspects of success, such as content knowledge. However, this is not sufficient. If students are to achieve their full potential, they must have opportunities to engage and develop a much richer set of skills. There is a growing movement to explore the potential of the “noncognitive” factors—attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes, and intrapersonal resources, independent of intellectual ability—that high-achieving individuals draw upon to accomplish success.
To download the report, which culminates in key conclusions and recommendations for practitioners, researchers, and policymakers, visit the Office of Educational Technology at http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/research/