An Overview of
Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance
Dr. Mac Adkins, SmarterServicesDr. Yi Guan-Raczkowski, Middlesex Community College
Wendy Wibbens, Colorado State University – Global Campus
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Sorry, we are not promoting grits.
Draft released Feb 14, 2013
importance of noncognitive attributes in
Call to Action
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.
Over the past ten years the noncognitive attributes of more than 2,000,000 students have been measured with the
SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Indicator
POLLHow strong of an indicator of student persistence do you consider noncognitive indicators to be?
Very StrongStrongModerateWeakVery Weak
• Introduction to Noncognitive Attributes• What is Grit?• How is it Measured?• How Can Educators Foster It?• Examples
• Colorado State University - Global Campus
• Middlesex Community College
Four Research Questions
1. What are grit, tenacity and perseverance?2. How are these factors measured currently?3. How can formal and informal learning
environments be designed to promote these factors for a wide variety of students?
In 2011 the National Research Council released “Assessing 21st Century Skills.”
21st Century Skills
“The routine jobs of yesterday are being replaced by technology and/or shipped off-shore. In their place, job categories that require knowledge management, abstract reasoning, and personal services seem to be growing. The modern workplace requires workers to have broad cognitive and affective skills. Often referred to as "21st century skills," these skills include being able to solve complex problems, to think critically about tasks, to effectively communicate with people from a variety of different cultures and using a variety of different techniques, to work in collaboration with others, to adapt to rapidly changing environments and conditions for performing tasks, to effectively manage one's work, and to acquire new skills and information on one's own.”
21st Century Skills
Problem solving Critical thinking
Communication Social skillsTeam-work
Cultural sensitivity Dealing with diversity
Self-managementTime management Self-development
“Years of schooling predicts labor market outcomes—cognitive skills account for only 20%; therefore 80% of the “years of schooling” benefit is due to noncognitive skills.” (Bowles, Gintis, & Osborne, 2001)
Percentage Employers Rating Skill as “Very Important”
Conference Board (2008)
Collegiate Uses of Noncognitive Data
• The typical measures of academic achievement (GPA, standardized test scores) and demographic factors (i.e. first generation college student) can be augmented with noncognitve data for a more holistic/predictive model.
• Learners can be directed toward resources and experiences which can foster improvement in noncognitive skills.
• The affective domains of course/degree program objectives and student services programs can be assessed regarding improvement in noncognitive outcomes
POLLIndicate each way that your school is currently using noncognitive data.
Enrollment ProcessPersonal DevelopmentProgrammatic AssessmentOther
What are grit, tenacity and perseverance?
“Grit - Perseverance to accomplish long-term or higher-order goals in the face of challenges and setbacks, engaging the student’s psychological resources, such as their academic mindsets, effortful control, and strategies and tactics.”
“It is well documented that students from high-poverty backgrounds are particularly likely to face great stress and limited social support for academic achievement. These are factors which can undermine perseverance toward a wide range of goals.”
1. Students need opportunities to take on “optimally challenging” goals that, to the student, are worthy of pursuit.
2. Students need a rigorous and supportive environment to accomplish these goals and/or develop critical psychological resources.
1. Academic mindsets – Beliefs, attitudes, dispositions, values, and ways of perceiving oneself. “My ability and competence grow with my effort.”
2. Effortful control - Students must be diligent when faced with tasks that are important for long-term goals but that in the short-term do not feel desirable or intrinsically motivating.
3. Strategies and tactics – Actionable skills for taking responsibility and initiative. Planning, monitoring, change course, overcoming obstacles.
Potential Risks of Grit
Persevering to accomplish goals that are extrinsically motivated, unimportant to the student, or in some way inappropriate for the student can potentially induce stress, anxiety, and distraction, and have detrimental impacts on a student’s long-term retention, conceptual learning, or psychological well-being.
Academic Advising is Important
Benefits of Measuring Grit
1. Feedback to educators2. Inform program design3. Research in perseverance4. Diagnostic indicators about vulnerable students
Disposition or Process
Disposition measures indicate a general or enduring tendency to persevere.Process measures include sequences of behaviors, emotions, physiological reactions, and/or thoughts that unfold over time during learning.
Methods for Measuring Grit
1. Self Report – Learners respond to questions about their perceptions, attitudes, goals, etc.
2. Informant Report –Teachers, parents, and others
3. School Records – Attendance, discipline records.
4. Behavioral Task Performance – Engagement metrics from LMS
They reviewed 50 programs for promoting grit and articulated five conceptual models for creating environments that foster persistence.
College Readiness Programs
Students best develop attention regulation and self-control when they can practice skills in a supportive environment that addresses cognitive, social, and physical development together.
FIRST YEAR EXPERIENCE
POLLMy school offers some form of college readiness program.
Brief interventions (e.g., 2 to 10 hours) can significantly impact students’ mindsets and learning strategies, and, in turn, academic performance.
Alternative School Models
• Character Education - Explicit articulation of learning goals for targeted dispositions
• Project Based - Engagement in long-term, challenging, real-world problems that require planning, monitoring, feedback, and iteration.
• Targeted support – First in family to go to college, STEM professions, etc.
• Digital learning environments that provide optimal challenge through adaptivity;
• Digital tools to help educators promote a rigorous and supportive classroom climate
• Resources, information, materials, and tools to accomplish difficult goals
Report from two schools which use the SmarterMeasure Learning
Readiness Indicator as a measure of noncognitive readiness.
Using SmarterMeasure at Colorado State University-Global Campus– Pre-admission
• for applicants who do not meet admissions criteria• One of the evaluation criteria for admit decision
– Students not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress• Help students self-assess• Provide insight into non-cognitive factors • Better informed strategic planning and goal setting for success
• Academic Predictors– No consistent predictive value
• Non-cognitive factors– Motivation and commitment– Life factors– Locus of control– Help seeking
Non-cognitive Skills at CSU-GC
• Professional motivators• Linking professional and academic cross-over
skills• Parenthood – setting an example• Overcoming health & family tragedy
A Case Study in SmarterMeasure
• Middlesex Community College used SmarterMeasure for advising and helping online/hybrid students since Spring 2009.
• A case study has been done on 3228 students in six online semesters. – Correlations between SmarterMeasure scores and final
grades.– For overall 3228 students and each of six semesters,
the score of personal attributes shows a significant correlation with student grades.
– The score of personal attributes in SmarterMeasure is a strong predictor to student success in online learning.
Implementation of SmarterMeasure
• Based on the finding, strategies are implemented– Academic advising
• Advise potential online students take SmarterMeasure to find out their strengths and weaknesses in online learning.
• Explain to students that the aspects of personal attributes, motivation, disciplines, time management, etc. contribute highly to their success.
• Seminars – Better Prepared for Online Learning
– Orientation (online and on-campus)• Taking SmarterMeasure• Learning course navigation and various tools in Blackboard• Success Tips
– During a semester• Student success seminars