Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners: The Role of Noncognitive Factors in Shaping School Performance, A Critical Literature Review

By Camille A. Farrington, Melissa Roderick, Elaine Allensworth, Jenny Nagaoka, Tasha Seneca Keyes, David W. Johnson & Nicole O. Beechum
December 13, 2016

This frequently-cited report from the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research provides a comprehensive review of the connection between noncognitive factors and academic success based on existing research. After a literature review of over 400 resources, the authors organized a large number of noncognitive traits, skills, behaviors, and attitudes into five categories. The report presents their conceptual framework which attempts to explain hows academic behaviors, academic perseverance, academic mindsets, learning strategies, and social skills work together to contribute to student success. For each of the five categories, the report includes an in depth section which explores the impact on student performance, whether the factor can be changed over time, the importance of classroom context, what strategies to help students have been identified, and the impact of each factor on the achievement gap. In addition the report uses three case studies to explore the importance of noncognitive factors during key transitions into middle school, high school, and college.

This report will be of interest to teachers as it shows that noncognitive factors, rather than set personal traits, are influenced by the classroom environment. Thus teachers can help students through direct instruction and work that allows them to practice learning strategies and build a growth mindset. The report will also be of high interest to researchers and policy-makers. It ends with specific advice, outlining four main gaps in the research-base and suggesting ways to guide future research in order to make it more relevant and actionable for practitioners.

Source Organization: University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research

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