Persistence Can Predict Achievement

New research suggests that persistence may be as essential as intelligence when predicting high achievement among students

Educators have long believed academic achievement and intelligence scores were the best predictors of high achievement for students. However, research by Dr. Angela Duckworth at the University of Penn suggests that two other factors are equally important. Specifically, Duckworth identified two critical predictors of success: “persistence and self-control.”

The Importance of Noncognitive Skills

Duckworth’s work is part of a growing area of psychology research focused on what is loosely called “noncognitive skills.” The goal is to identify and measure the skills and traits other than intelligence that contribute to human development and success.

In her research, Duckworth analyzed data from more than 10,000 women and men who, on entry to the US Military Academy at West Point, completed measures of persistence, cognitive ability, and physical ability and were followed longitudinally through graduation. She discovered that cognitive and noncognitive factors could predict long-term achievement, with characteristics like intelligence, persistence, and physical capacity influencing a person’s ability to succeed differently

Why is Persistence Important For Students?
1. It is an underlying characteristic of successful individuals
2. It may be more important than IQ, test scores, and other traditional forms of intelligence
3. Persistent students appear to outperform their less persistent counterparts

Why Is Persistence Important?

Persistence involves completing a process that has been started. Being persistent means that a student completes a task even if it is difficult or tedious or not what the student would like to do at a particular time.

Research has shown that humans have a fundamental drive to engage with easy, relaxing, safe, and familiar tasks and finding the most straightforward solutions to a problem. When faced with challenging situations, students must overcome this fundamental drive with persistence, which involves self-control, delayed gratification, and emotional regulation.

Everyone can persevere to varying degrees, and it is essential to note that it is an ability that can be developed. A student with a strong sense of perseverance can face obstacles, complex challenges, negative emotions, and even failure. Plus, they will be able to maintain focus and continue to work towards a goal. For these reasons, persistence is critical to students’ academic performance and overall well-being.

Assessing Student Persistence

Bloomsights recognizes the importance of noncognitive skills in predicting success and the need to measure them as part of a school’s efforts to prepare students for lifelong achievement. Our formative schoolwide screener makes it easy for schools to assess and monitor academic, behavioral, and social emotional indicators (such as persistence and self-management) that are most predictive of postsecondary success from grades 2 through 12. More importantly, Bloomishgts makes it possible to identify students who need support with these essential skill sets and equips teachers and school counselors with personalized intervention strategies to help students grow.

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