In September, we posted a TED Talk from Angela Duckworth. Her topic? Grit and the Key to Success. In December, this video and the concept of Grit was discussed on LINCS, a professional learning community for adult educators.
So, what do we do with this idea of grit? How does understanding this idea improve our student’s retention and their overall success?
Understanding student barriers is a critical component of retention. Grit is an idea of perseverance. It’s the measure of how a person “sustains interest in and effort toward long-term goals.” Students with a high grit scale are more likely to reach their goals. Students with lower scores on the grit are more likely to be at risk for dropping out of the program.
How do you assess grit? There is a simple set of questions asked in a grit scale. Students rate statements such as:
- New ideas and projects sometimes distract e from previous ones
- My interests change from year to years
- I often set a goal but later choose to pursue a different one.
- I have difficulty maintaining my focus on projects that take more than a few months.
But this lead to the question, “Are we assessing too much? I have to agree with Larry Ferlazzo, “Helping students to identify personal learning styles, tricks to improve research and studying an awareness of how he or she learns, is much more personalized than any data spit out by a computer.”
Ultimately, it’s about how we use assessment tools and integrate the results into providing meaningful programming an instruction. Effective teaching is about building relationships. Relationships between students and teachers; between students and peers; and between students and curriculum. Using a grit scale can give us a starting point for the non-cognitive skills students need to develop. This is as critical as the academic assessment that helps students identify gaps in knowledge and strengths in skills. Together, these types of assessments help learners become more self-aware and can lead to the development of self-efficacy and resilience.
Strategies to use the Grit Assessment with i-Pathways learners include the following:
- Provide students time to complete the grit assessment during an orientation and go over the results with the student.
- Discuss strategies such as creating both short and long term goals from when a student will complete a module and when they will take their GED or High School Equivalency Test. Use the Module Tracking Forms and Study Plan found in the Resource Center.
- Provide instruction that is connected to the student’s intended learning goals by using the PreSurvey to place students in appropriate lessons.
- Use lesson feedback featuresto connect their academic development to their short and long term goals.
- Revisit their study plan often. Use the Message Center to send updated study plans.
In order for the Grit scale to do more than simply identify the potential of a student achieving their goal, this tool becomes a meaningful addition to the intake /orientation process only if the results are integrated into a study plan. Students can benefit when they understand that learning is a process. It has its ups and downs – hurdles and successes. By strategically identifying the habits of successful learners, and helping students know they can be these learners, we are doing so much more that getting them to their high school equivalency tests. We are creating a path for higher education achievement.