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.

Why Whole Child Education Matters

Most current schooling models are heavily focused on rubric-based grading and standardized testing — much to the shared unhappiness of teachers, parents, and students alike. On one hand, these cut-and-dry methods make it “easy” to gauge achievement against one standardized set of metrics. It is, in theory, a way to gauge knowledge and chart improvements year over year. It’s also a way to compare students on the same level, to see that everyone is where they should be according to the metrics.

On a much more important level, though, there is a lot of growth that happens during the school day that is not and cannot be measured by a standardized test. Anyone who has taken one of those tests can attest to how little depth of information actually comes from them. It’s a way to distill a person down to super-basic information, but it’s not the most effective way to gauge a child’s needs or struggles. Enter whole child education.

What Is Whole Child Education?

As the name implies, whole child education is a new approach to education that is intended to do more than just teach children specific tenets of knowledge — it’s a way to teach and nurture growth based on each student’s needs. And while this ideology speaks to teaching based on each child’s needs and learning styles, it also includes a broader scope than traditional models of education. Specifically, whole child education looks at all of a child’s needs and abilities to inform their education plan.

Why Whole Child Education Matters

The idea behind whole child education is to even the playing field, so to speak. The underlying tenets of this methodology include looking at a child’s physical well-being as well as their mental health, and doing as much as possible with that information to create the right learning environment for all students. As a very basic example, a student who is hungry will have a much harder time focusing on the lesson that one who has had a filling, nutritious meal. Also consider that a child who is being bullied is far less likely to perform well if they sit near their bully in the classroom. Whole child education looks at all aspects of a student’s life and how their needs are or are not being met.

The idea behind whole child education is, essentially, to provide better education. But “better education” is a really broad, nebulous term — because “better education” doesn’t just mean cramming students’ minds with even more knowledge, it means teaching them the skills to handle life. Whole child education looks at ways to teach non-cognitive skills (like social skills, civic participation, etc.) alongside other cognitive knowledge.

One ongoing struggle with the whole child educational model is figuring out what each student’s needs are. This is where Bloomsights comes in. Our student assessment tools give students a way to quickly and easily provide insight into their social and emotional wellbeing, which you as teachers and school leaders can then take an work with to gauge class/school culture and make adjustments. Want to learn more? Connect with Bloomsights today!

Social Emotional Development: Why It Matters

You don’t have to be a parent to care about each student in your charge. As teachers or school administrators, you understand just how much children will grow and learn under your guidance. It’s not just reading, writing, and arithmetic, either; school is where most of us learned a plethora of life lessons that we carried into adulthood, and that is undoubtedly how it’ll go for your students too.

That’s a lot of responsibility to have on your shoulders day after day. But, as more study and more effort is put into the idea of social and emotional development lessons, there are an increasing variety of lessons and tools to help you bring this theory of education into your classroom — including easy-to-use student assessment tools like Bloomsights. If you’re new to the social emotional development theory, here are the basics:

Understanding Social Emotional Development

Social emotional development is simply a term used to describe a child’s ability to understand and control their emotions/feelings and how they understand others’ feelings. Their social emotional learning is also the basis of how a child builds relationships with friends, parents, other adults, and so on. Basically, a child’s social emotional development is going to be the foundation for how they interact with the world around them. Given that and the fact that children spend so many hours each week at school, you can see how a child’s school experiences can play a major role in shaping and growing their social emotional development.

There is no denying that it’s important to focus on social emotional development, especially during the preschool and elementary years. So far, research suggests that social competence can have an impressively widespread impact on a child’s success in a variety of social and economic areas later in life. For example, “students who exhibit weaker social competency skills may be more likely to drop out of high school, abuse drugs and alcohol and need government assistance” where their more socially competent cohort is likely to not only avoid those situations, but also to meet more measures of success in adulthood, like earning a 4-year degree in early adulthood.

Implementing Social Emotional Learning

More and more research is suggesting the value of two particular steps in order to help children grow their social competency. First, social emotional development should be a primary focus starting when children are young — preschool-aged if possible, but at the very least during kindergarten and elementary education. Second, social emotional learning shouldn’t just happen at home and activities; children spend a good chunk of their days at school, in heavily social situations, so it’s important to bring those lessons into the classroom as much as possible.

With everything on teachers’ plates already, it can sound overwhelming to add yet another layer to your daily responsibilities. This is where Bloomsights steps in to help. Our easy-to-use student assessments help give you a clear picture about what’s going on with each student socially and emotionally. From there, you can use that information to shift your focus or make changes in the classroom to better support your students’ needs. Learn more by connecting with us by email at or phone 970.568.8981.

Students Can Learn From Adaptive Surveys

New technological advances have made it possible to develop an adaptive, responsive, and flexible survey tool that can deliver to educators more reliable and valuable data than traditional surveys. Moreover, the assessment process itself is a learning experience. By answering research-based questions that encourage reflection over the school year, students have an opportunity to build their emotional skills, process emotions, and improve their social and emotional vocabulary to help them interact more effectively with others and better express how they are feeling.

Building Emotional Skills

Adaptive surveys create the opportunity to include student voice in a community approach to well-being and mental health. For example, using monthly check-ins, students can reflect on their feelings and experiences of school life and share their opinions with their teachers and school counselors. Throughout the school year, adaptive surveys help students develop their emotional skills to better monitor and regulate their behaviors, attitudes, and actions towards their peers and teachers. The results are two-tiered: students are empowered when they see that their voices matter and become more connected to their school community.

Processing Emotions

Emotional regulation is necessary to remember, retrieve, transfer, and connect all new information to what we already know. Unfortunately, children and adolescents who are only beginning to understand what emotions are and how they impact behavior lack the coping skills to properly regulate their feelings.

An adaptive survey that consistently asks students questions about how safe, supported, included, and engaged they feel at school helps them learn about their emotions. By communicating how they feel at school, teachers and school health professionals can use these insights to help their students connect emotions and behaviors, which is essential to assist them in finding the control they need to manage their behavior.

Articulating Views and Feelings

As adults, we sometimes have difficulty articulating our views and feelings in a way that does not invite disconnect in our relationships with others. So how can we help children and adolescents learn how to express what they feel tactfully and meaningfully? We can start by giving them the right words to say.

Routinely answering evidence-based questions that encourage reflection, students learn social and emotional vocabulary that could help them interact more effectively with others and express their feelings. You may think that is what a traditional survey does, but there are advantages to using an adaptive survey when building student vocabulary. Frequently offering a fixed survey where students see the same questions in the same order can lead to assessment fatigue. Questions are answered mindlessly, and vocabulary retention is replaced by just filling in responses. An adaptive survey that uses the same fixed questions but in a different order, at different times, and in smaller batches throughout the school year keeps students engaged and more reflective. It is more important to understand what the question is asking to provide a response. As a result, students learn how to articulate their emotions.

Insights with Bloomsights

Bloomsights is an assessment tool aimed at gauging student well-being and improving school climate to comprehensively encourage student social emotional development. First, simplify your SEL data to clarify your students’ needs and determine necessary interventions. Then, get meaningful and ongoing insights to plan and implement strategies that support improved student and school outcomes.

Reach out to Bloomsights for an in-depth discussion on how to implement a quality social and emotional assessment plan. Visit to start your trial of Bloomsights today!

Social Emotional Solutions: Evaluating Student Needs Using Adaptive and Innovative Technology

Surveys are a critical part of early intervention and school improvement strategies. But the survey tool that you implement must enable you to use best practices while embracing new strategies and technologies.

An adaptive, responsive, and flexible school climate survey tool can deliver best practices with significant improvements over traditional methods.

Once a year vs. continuous assessment

Online surveys have made it more efficient to assess how students, staff, and parents feel about different aspects of school climate such as school safety, learning and teaching, school environment, and social relationships.

However, a survey that is only administered annually provides school faculty with a mere “snapshot” of a school’s climate. Additionally, the large amount of time that it takes for schools to receive survey results runs counter to the point of early intervention.

An adaptive school climate tool is built upon the idea that data is reliable and useful only if it is collected routinely over the course of the school year.

Fixed vs. adaptive

Traditionally, surveys ask the exact same questions once a year. Simply offering the same fixed survey more frequently isn’t reliable nor useful especially because such practice can lead to assessment fatigue, where questions are answered mindlessly and without reflection.

An adaptive school climate tool pairs a large bank of questions with adaptive technology that identifies and strategically delivers the most relevant questions to each student over the full course of the school year.

Data paralysis vs. data analysis

Teachers today are swimming in data, and it is not enough to show them student responses to questions. We need to provide teachers with data in a way that answers the questions “So what?” and “Now what?”

A digital school climate tool frames data use in new ways so that insights gleaned are seen as augmenting, instead of replacing, teachers’ valuable and intuitive observations in the classroom.

The assessment process itself is a learning experience for both students and teachers. Through the process of answering carefully designed questions that encourages reflection, students learn social and emotional vocabulary that could help them to interact more effectively with others and to express how they are feeling.

Digital school climate tools will help teachers to recognize even the subtlest of indicators of school climate that may normally go unnoticed, but that could serve as a stimulus for early intervention—critical for issues related to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and student well-being as well as bullying. Moreover, they give teachers a way to think about and to clearly communicate survey results to students, school staff, and parents.

Insights with Bloomsights

At Bloomsights, we are experts at creating adaptive, responsive, and flexible school climate surveys. Reach out to Bloomsights for an in-depth discussion on how to implement a quality social and emotional assessment plan. Visit or call 970.568.8981.