We Should Measure Students’ Noncognitive Skills – Education Week

  • tags: mindset MVMind assessment skills

    • Recent psychological research has shown the importance of social-emotional learning for student success in the classroom and in life, and many school districts are exploring how to teach and measure noncognitive skills.

    • The Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, requires that each state include at least one nonacademic indicator in its school evaluation measures.

    • While the skepticism is well-founded—not all such measurements work well—there are researchers of psychology and educational assessment, as well as cognitive scientists at various measurement companies, who have developed evidence-based systems to measure students’ character strengths.

    • With the use of these kinds of assessment systems—and others that have been proven effective—educators can measure noncognitive skills with confidence and then use the information to help students succeed in a variety of ways.

    • When students underperform in math, for example, teachers can use a noncognitive assessment to discern whether the students need to build their organizational and time-management skills rather than undergo mathematical remediation. Teachers can also distinguish between the students who are thriving in noncognitive areas and those who need more attention and support.

    • Educators should certainly be cautious about social-and-emotional tests, to make sure they are effective assessments and work toward valuable, not damaging, ends.

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