New survey results show noncognitive factors can be measured and linked to academic outcomes

What's New

Based on a robust body of evidence suggesting noncognitive factors have a significant impact on academic and life outcomes, the UChicago Consortium on School Research and UChicago Impact developed the Becoming Effective Learners (BEL) Survey to pioneer a way for schools to accurately measure and target improvement on the noncognitive factors that research shows matter for student success. Now, new BEL Survey results from 11 pilot sites nationwide provide new evidence that noncognitive factors can in fact be measured and linked to concrete academic outcomes. Students who report more positively on noncognitive factors—including academic mindsets which indicate students’ beliefs in their own ability to learn, grow, and succeed—are more likely to earn As and less likely to earn Ds and Fs.  

Why It Matters

Mindsets, strategies, perseverance, behaviors, and social skills are not fixed traits that students either do or don’t have. They are shaped by the environments students are in every day—what they hear, see, and feel from teachers, schools, parents, and society. That means all of us—teachers and school staff; parents and guardians; coaches and mentors—can play a critical role. We can create environments that support not just academic, but social and emotional development—schools and spaces where students feel their work is meaningful, where they know adults believe in their ability, and where they genuinely believe in their own capacity to learn, grow, and succeed. The Becoming Effective Learners Survey is breaking new ground by providing schools with a tool that measures noncognitive factors and the classroom conditions that support their development, so educators can foster student growth on all fronts—not just the academic, but also the social and emotional.