From the Politico newsletter:
QUESTIONING GRIT: How do issues such as “grit” – or perseverance – and school climate correlate to student test performance? Following next year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress, researchers hope to have more clues. The student questionnaire on NAEP in 2017 will include a series of questions that address what are known as “non-cognitive” skills. By asking several questions within the topic areas, acting NCES Commissioner Peggy Carr tells Morning Education they will get “multiple chances to get the best measurement possible.” Researchers will take the answers to create an index that’s compared with test scores to create a composite designed to reflect the relationship between factors such as grit and academic achievement. Students will also be asked about technology use and their socioeconomic status.
– A glance at questions piloted earlier this year suggests what researchers are looking for [http://1.usa.gov/296dnLY ], although how the questionnaire will look next year could change. One pilot question, for example, asked fourth graders if they have a “problem while working toward an important goal, how well can you keep working?” Another question asks how often they “felt left out of things at school?” The questionnaire typically takes students about 15 minutes to fill out, and is optional.
– These types of questions have long helped researchers and policymakers to better understand student learning, said Bill Bushaw, the executive director of the National Assessment Governing Board. He said no personally-identifying information is collected from the sample of students taking NAEP, and no questions are asked about personal beliefs or religion. “It really helps understand the differences in academic achievement and that’s really what this is about,” Bushaw said. For example, in the past, Bushaw said a question that asked students how many times they’d been absent in the last month led researchers to conclude that students who miss a lot of school have lower achievement. School districts have responded by focusing more on school attendance.
– But the conservative Liberty Counsel – joined by the American Principles Project and other groups – penned a letter this week to congressional members to complain. “While ‘grit’ and ‘desire for learning’ appear to be benign terms on their face, other amorphous ‘mindsets’ categories such as these have been used by activist educators in other surveys and material to reshape students’ moral and religious beliefs,” the letter said. View: http://politico.pro/29lF0Ox.