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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ASCD: It’s Time to Rethink Antiquated Accountability Systems


Reposted from the ASCD Policy Position:

A two-year moratorium on using state assessments for high-stakes purposes is needed. States can and should still administer standardized assessments and communicate the results and what they mean to districts, schools, and families, but without the threat of punitive sanctions that have distorted their importance. ASCD is strongly advocating for a new approach in which testing is just one tool among many in determining whether our students are prepared for a successful future after high school graduation.

Standardized test results have been the defining measure of student achievement and school quality under the No Child Left Behind Act. This singular focus has resulted in several unintended and undesirable consequences, including over testing, a narrowing of the curriculum, and a de-emphasis of untested subjects and concepts—the arts, civics, and social and emotional skills, among many others—that are just as important to a student’s development and long-term success.

Making decisions about student readiness, teacher performance, and school quality that have far-reaching ramifications should never be based on a single state assessment. Yet, unfortunately, that is where we find ourselves today. Our education system is out of balance and needs to be reset so that testing is merely one component for evaluating progress and not the main driver of student learning and school improvement.

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The Toxic Culture of Education [VIDEO 17:02]

Joshue Katz contends that we have created a “Toxic Culture of Education” in our country that is damaging students, impacting our economy, and threatening our future. Since the passage of No Child Left Behind, we have embraced a culture of high stakes testing and are perpetuating a false sense of failure in our schools by created by private education interests who have identified a supervillain of its own creation. The solution lies in a common sense approach to student development, curriculum choice, career exploration, and relevant data analysis. This talk will present a vision of an education system that allows us to embrace our full potential if we only had the courage to ask “Why Not”?