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.

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.