Grit Isn’t Ready For High-Stakes Measures


Reposted from nprEd:

Angela Duckworth, the scientist most closely associated with the concept of “grit,” is trying to put on the brakes. In a new paper published in the journalEducational Researcher, the University of Pennsylvania psychologist, and her colleague David Scott Yeager at the University of Texas at Austin, argue that grit isn’t ready for prime time, if prime time means high-stakes tests.

“I feel like the enthusiasm is getting ahead of the science,” Duckworth said in an interview. “I’m hearing about school district superintendents getting very interested in things like character and grit, and wanting to evaluate teachers based on them.” That, she says, would be gravely premature.

Here’s the problem. Much of grit research is based on self-reporting. That is, if you want to find out whether someone is gritty, you simply ask them to grade themselves on statements such as, “I am a hard worker.” Over large populations and in repeated experiments, Duckworth has found significant correlations between self-ratings on her12-item “grit scale” and people’s actual accomplishments.

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