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The Role of Noncognitive

Factors in Academic Success


and Achievement
Courtney B. Walters, MA, LPCS, NCC
Christin James, BS
North Carolina State University
Presenter Information
Courtney Walters is a PhD student and
Graduate Teaching Assistant in Counselor
Education, part of the Educational Leadership,
Policy, and Human Development (ELPHD)
Department within the College of Education at
North Carolina State University. She has
worked at the University of North Carolina at
Pembroke for more than 10 years. Her
background in psychology and counseling
influences the way that she works with
students and her views of the importance of
noncognitive factors as they relate to student
success.
Presenter Information (continued)
Christin James is a masters student in
College Counseling and Student
Development within the College of
Education at North Carolina State University.
She works as part of the academic advising
team in the Poole College of Management at
NC State. Currently, she works specifically
with at-risk students on academic warning.
She has interests in multiple areas of college
counseling including career counseling,
academic advising, and student affairs.
Program Objectives
Define noncognitive factors.
Review five categories of noncognitive factors:
Academic behaviors
Academic perseverance
Academic mindsets
Learning strategies
Social skills
Discuss strategies to assess and strengthen
noncognitive factors in college students.
What are noncognitive factors?
Farrington et al. (2012) define noncognitive skills as sets of
behaviors, skills, attitudes, and strategies that are crucial to
academic performance in their classes, but that may not be
reflected on their scores on cognitive tests (p. 2). This is a shift
from the focus on outcomes such as test scores and grade point
average, to examine factors other than cognitive abilities or
talents that may determine (or limit) academic success.
Academic Behaviors
Behaviors that are typically associated with being
a good student, including:
Going to class
Doing homework
Organizing materials
Participating in class
Studying
Academic Perseverance
The tendency to persist and complete academic
work, despite obstacles or challenges. Concepts
include:
Grit/tenacity
Delayed gratification
Self-discipline
Self-control
Academic Mindsets
The attitudes or beliefs that a student has about
his/her academic abilities. Examples include:
I belong in this academic community.
My ability and competence grow with my effort.
I can succeed at this.
This work has value for me.
Learning Strategies
Methods to maximize learning and retention of
academic material, including:
Study skills
Metacognitive strategies
Self-regulated learning
Goal-setting
Time management
Social Skills
Behaviors that allow for positive relationships with
others, effective communication, and
collaboration. Examples:
Interpersonal skills
Empathy
Cooperation
Assertion
Responsibility
Framework (Farrington et al., 2012)
Assessment of Noncognitive Skills
Instructor observation
Assessment Instruments
Grit Scale (Duckworth)
Mindset Scale (Dweck)
LASSI (Learning and Study Strategies Inventory)
CSEI (College Self Efficacy Inventory)
12-Item Grit Scale
1. I have overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge.
Very much like me
Mostly like me
Somewhat like me
Not much like me
Not like me at all
2. New ideas and projects sometimes distract me from previous ones.*
Very much like me
Mostly like me
Somewhat like me
Not much like me
Not like me at all
3. My interests change from year to year.*
Very much like me
Mostly like me
Somewhat like me
Not much like me
Not like me at all
12-Item Grit Scale (continued)
4. Setbacks dont discourage me.
Very much like me
Mostly like me
Somewhat like me
Not much like me
Not like me at all
5. I have been obsessed with a certain idea or project for a short time but later
lost interest.*
Very much like me
Mostly like me
Somewhat like me
Not much like me
Not like me at all
6. I am a hard worker.
Very much like me
Mostly like me
Somewhat like me
Not much like me
Not like me at all
12-Item Grit Scale (continued)
7. I often set a goal but later choose to pursue a different one.*
Very much like me
Mostly like me
Somewhat like me
Not much like me
Not like me at all
8. I have difficulty maintaining my focus on projects that take more than a few
months to complete.*
Very much like me
Mostly like me
Somewhat like me
Not much like me
Not like me at all
9. I finish whatever I begin.
Very much like me
Mostly like me
Somewhat like me
Not much like me
Not like me at all
12-Item Grit Scale (continued)
9. I have achieved a goal that took years of work.
Very much like me
Mostly like me
Somewhat like me
Not much like me
Not like me at all
10. I become interested in new pursuits every few months.*
Very much like me
Mostly like me
Somewhat like me
Not much like me
Not like me at all
11. I am diligent.
Very much like me
Mostly like me
Somewhat like me
Not much like me
Not like me at all
Grit Scale Scoring
For questions 1, 4, 6, 9, 10 and 12 assign the following points:
5 = Very much like me
4 = Mostly like me
3 = Somewhat like me
2 = Not much like me
1 = Not like me at all

For questions 2, 3, 5, 7, 8 and 11 assign the following points:


1 = Very much like me
2 = Mostly like me
3 = Somewhat like me
4 = Not much like me
5 = Not like me at all

Add up all the points and divide by 12. The maximum score on this scale is 5
(extremely gritty), and the lowest score on this scale is 1 (not at all gritty).
Strategies to Strengthen Noncognitive Skills

Psychoeducation, such as:


Time management
Developing SMART goals
Study skills
Supporting student goals and holding them
accountable for progress towards goals
Connecting students to resources
Conclusion
References
Duckworth, A.L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M.D., & Kelly, D.R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance
and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9,
1087-1101.

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Ballantine
Books.

Farrington, C. A., Roderick, M., Allensworth, E., Nagaoka, J., Keyes, T. S., Johnson, D. W., &
Beecham, N. O. (2012). Teaching adolescents to become learners. The role of
noncognitive factors in shaping school performance: A critical literature review.
Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research.

Solberg, V. S., OBrien, K., Villareal, P., Kennel, R., & Davis, B. (1993). Self-efficacy and
Hispanic college students: Validation of the self-efficacy instrument. Hispanic
Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 15, 80-95.

Weinstein, C. E., Palmer, D. R., & Acee, T. W. (2016). Users manual: Learning and study
strategies inventory (3rd ed.). Clearwater, FL: H & H.