​Schools Push to Evaluate Social-Emotional Skills, Reports NYT

TESTING MATH, ENGLISH AND… GRIT: Schools nationwide are expanding student assessment to non-academic results, paying more attention to skills like grit, joy and self-control, according to a recent New York Times article. The push is led by a recent update to federal education law which requires that school performance include at least one measure not related to results on traditional subjects.

Two major exam are including questions to measure soft skills: the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a test taken by fourth, eighth and twelfth graders in the US, and PISA, the international exam taken by 15 year-olds every three years.

In response, eight districts in California will test kids’ social-emotional skills. Other states will be looking to California as a model for best practices to replicate.

The author acknowledges the difficulties of using objective tests to measure subjective skills, but gives examples of how schools approaching it. In Visitacion Valley Elementary School, San Francisco (CA), for instance, the fifth grader teacher Jade Cooney stimulate her students to sustain good behavior as much as possible using a kitchen timer. The longer students avoid misconduct, the better is the reward.

Wonder how gritty you are? The article also includes a quiz to help you find out.

(NYT's paywall may restrict access to the article and to the interactive feature.)

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