How does Action research help teachers

how does action research benefit teachers and how do teachers understand research when they read it
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Published Date:03-07-2017
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MOTIVATION MATTERS NOT LONG AGO, Douglas Creef, a veteran science teacher at Stuart- Hobson Middle School in the District of Columbia asked his mostly struggling seventh-graders to express in writing their attitudes toward challenging academic work. One student, asked whether he takes on challenges, responded: “When something hard come sic, if I can’t get it, I skip it.” Asked how much effort he puts into schoolwork and other tasks, he says: “I only do the work I get. I don’t do extra.” To the question of whether he learns from mistakes, he writes: “I try to forget and make an excuse. I try not to be blamed.” Asked how he feels, he responds: “I want to give up.” Quitting in the face of hard work is never the re- Motivating students, studies show, is already a sponse a teacher wants to see, but it’s one that threat- considerable challenge. According to a 2013 Gallup ens to become more common as academic pressures poll of public school students, the more years stu- rise. The new Common Core State Standards, the dents spend in school, the more disengaged they latest in a decades-long effort become. In elementary school, to drive educational improve- As the academic fully eight in 10 students are ment, soon will be setting un- said to be “learning with a requirements rise, so precedented expectations for positive emotional tone and too must students’ the performance of students, persevering in the face of chal- willingness to take on teachers, and schools. Reach- lenges”; in middle school, just ing the Common Core bar six in 10 have that perspective; increasingly difficult tasks will require more effective in- and by high school, accord- and to persist through struction than many students ing to Gallup, a mere four in the failures that often 1 The have traditionally received, 10 students are engaged. precede success. message was the same in a along with assessments aligned 2006 national survey of high to the standards. But students school dropouts by the consulting company Civic will also require something else: the motivation to Enterprises: 69 percent of respondents said that meet the Common Core demands. As the academic 2 their schools failed to motivate them. requirements rise, so too must students’ willingness Substantial racial and socio-economic com- to take on increasingly difficult tasks and to persist ponents contribute to the problem. We know that through the failures that often precede success. CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING 3MOTIVATION MATTERS we have a wide academic achievement gap between well. More precisely, psychologists define it as the income and racial groups, but surveys have consis- directing of energy and passion toward a goal; it is tently identified an “engagement gap” as well—a what starts, directs, sustains, and stops behavior. divide that the directors of the Indiana University- Motivation is shaped by attitudes that influence the based High School Survey of Student Engagement level of students’ engagement in their learning; that call “both more pernicious and potentially more is, it influences how actively involved students are addressable.” Student engagement is higher among in their work—thus how hard they work—and it whites and Asians than among other ethnic groups determines the extent to which they persevere in the 4,5 and higher among wealthier students than among face of obstacles. 3 Researchers have identified a number of ingre- poor ones. Highly effective teachers have long found ways dients that contribute to student motivation. They to engage, thus motivate, their students. But it is differ on how they weigh and categorize them, but increasingly clear that the public education sys- among them are a student’s belief that he is able to tem needs to address student motivation far more do the work, a sense of control over the work, an systematically, and on a much understanding of the value of It is increasingly clear larger scale, than it does today. the work, and an appreciation Much of what we know for how he and the work relate that the public education 6 about student motivation exists to a social group. system needs to address These factors, in turn, in a vast reservoir of research can be shaped by many oth- covering what’s known collec- student motivation far ers, including how academic tively as “non-cognitive” con- more systematically than content is taught and how stu- tributors to student success, an it does today. dents interact with and prac- umbrella term for skills, dispo- sitions, and attributes that fall tice that content. Motivation outside of intellectual ability and content knowl- is also affected by life experiences both in and out edge. It is a broad field that incorporates everything of school. In the classroom, recent research shows from self-regulation, such as being on time for class, that so-called “toxic stress” brought about by such to study strategies, to so-called social-emotional problems as hunger or homelessness can show up skills, which include such capacities as cooperation in students as distraction, lack of self-control, and and respect for others. distrust of others. All depress motivation. Motivation is a central part of this learning This report focuses on the psychological and be- landscape. From the Latin movere, “to move”, it de- havioral sides of student motivation—how students scribes students’ desire to engage in learning and do respond to incentives to learn, how they see them- selves as learners, and what they consider to be their place in the life of their schools. A promising yet A WORD ABOUT TERMS largely un-navigated path to higher achievement, To talk about “non-cognitive” or “non-academic” the area has attracted considerable research in recent learnin g is to wade into a morass of confusing, years. Much of it comes from psychology, neurobi- conflated, and conflicting language. A brief glos - ology, and other fields that have been largely isolated sary on page 42 attempts to distinguish among the many terms that characterize this expanding field. from the people in front of the classroom. Now, of- ten in collaboration, researchers and practitioners are 4 CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING MOTIVATION MATTERS developing a number of strategies for fortifying the would all be energized by nothing more than the joy non-instructional side of student success: building of gaining knowledge and skills. But, for a variety students’ perseverance, improving their confidence, of reasons, this is not always the case. One common and enhancing their sense of connectedness by fos- approach to changing behavior in these reluctant tering closer relationships with teachers and peers. students is to spur them with external incentives. Our report explores some of these strategies, Money is one such enticement, and research shows examining what the research suggests about their that dollars can indeed prompt students to work strengths and weaknesses. It looks back on previ- harder, particularly when the incentives reward en- ous efforts to improve motivation, reviewing what gagement in the process rather than performance has worked and what has not. And it considers the outcomes. On the downside, research shows that challenges that policymakers and practitioners face when rewards come to be expected, they can have in deploying these strategies on a larger scale, from the effect of undermining motivation in general and inadequate teacher training, to problems with mea- intrinsic motivation in particular. surement, to potential political opposition. For a 2010 working paper, Harvard economist Roland Fryer studied financial incentive programs in four U.S. cities: Dallas, New York, Chicago, The Risks of Rewards and the District of Columbia. Fryer and his col- leagues found many positive results, with outcomes Educators have always used incentives—rewards in some cities better than in others. With private and consequences—to push their students to reach money that Fryer raised, D.C. paid students up to a benchmark or complete a task. Whether it’s prais- 1,000 a month for good grades, behavior, and at- ing them with gold stars or threatening them with tendance. The result was higher reading scores for detention, they are strategies that teachers use every boys, Hispanic students, and students with behav- day to encourage behaviors they want to see and dis- ioral problems. (The effects for students overall were courage those they don’t. But less significant.) The program while few would dispute the When rewards come to be in Dallas, which paid second- value of earned praise, a dif- graders 2 for each book read, expected, they can have ferent type of carrot is more saw the largest academic gains the effect of undermining controversial. One of the most in reading comprehension, vo- prominent strategies for mo- cabulary, and language skills, motivation in general and tivating students has been the while Chicago and New York intrinsic motivation in awarding of money and other saw only modest benefits in particular. compensations in return for these areas, if any. In Chicago, certain behavior. Some KIPP students were paid for good charter schools, for instance, offer students a chance grades (50 for each “A”); in New York, students to earn KIPP ‘dollars’, which determine whether earned cash for improving test scores (up to 50 for 7 they can go on field trips, for such behaviors as com- seventh-graders). Based on these results, Fryer writes that ing to school on time and participating in class. “providing incentives for inputs reading books, These schemes operate on the distinction be- not outputs getting good grades, performing well tween intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Ideally, on tests, seems to spur achievement.” The former, all students would intrinsically value learning; they CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING 5MOTIVATION MATTERS he reasons, incentivizes an identifiable behavior— received, a reward for drawing. The children showed one that is known to correlate with better reading a decline in intrinsic motivation to draw compared ability, thus higher reading scores—whereas to students who got no reward: those who got no the latter rewards results that require a range of reward chose to spend just as much time drawing behaviors, such as attendance and study habits, that after the experiment as before. Interestingly, students 8 aren’t clearly defined. who received an unexpected reward did not show a Strategies for boosting extrinsic motivation decrease in intrinsic motivation. Andstudents who seem to succeed by increasing students’ control over initially showed little inherent interest in drawing, their learning, their sense of competence, or both. and who received an unexpected reward when they In the Fryer study, the results may have been more did pick up their crayons, later showed more interest 11 impressive in Dallas because students there were in the activity. free to choose which books to read. By contrast, the Paying for grades may be a useful strategy under certain conditions, such as with students who have students in New York and Chicago had little choice money problems that hamper academic success. about which courses or tests to take. Students in The state of Texas, for instance, pays part of stu- Dallas also got instant feedback on their perfor- dents’ Advanced Placement exam fees and for pass- mance, whereas students in New York and Chicago ing scores on the exams themselves. A 2010 study weren’t told which actions would lead to which out- comes. As a result, many students saw their scores by C. Kirabo Jackson of Northwestern University’s and grades as random and mysterious markers, not Institute for Policy Research suggests that the ini- 9 as true reflections of their competence. tiative has had positive effects, including improved Yet if the goal of education is to develop innate performance on the SAT and ACT and, especially curiosity and an intrinsic love of learning, offering among African-American and Hispanic students, students money for performance is a problematic higher numbers of students opting to take AP and 12 way to reach it. An enduring empirical finding is International Baccalaureate exams. that rewards can enhance But some financial incen- motivation when they are tive programs seemingly owe If the goal of education their success to outside factors. unexpected (the first time a is to develop innate More training for teachers, student gets the reward), but curiosity and an intrinsic changes in classroom or school when they are expected (every love of learning, offering culture, lower student-teacher time after the first time) they undermine intrinsic, long- ratios—all these have been as- students money for term motivation. In a 1999 sociated with financial incen- performance is a meta-analysis of 128 research tive programs, and they can’t problematic way to studies, Edward Deci and easily be disentangled from reach it. Richard Ryan of the University the incentives themselves. The of Rochester and Richard Texas incentive program, for Koestner of McGill University found that when the instance, provides training to teachers and salary 13 reward is expected and tangible, intrinsic motivation bonuses to certain AP teachers. 10 In one oft-cited study In short, research shows that simply dangling is significantly undermined. from 1973, researchers conducted an experiment dollar bills in front of students is not in itself a solu- in which preschool students were promised, and tion to the problem of student motivation. Along 6 CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING MOTIVATION MATTERS with rewarding mastery of skills over performance, enhance their interest in the topic and boost class- incentives are more likely to produce results if they room performance. In one, Hulleman and colleague target behaviors that students feel are achievable, if Judith Harackiewicz randomly assigned 262 high they challenge students enough to maintain their school students to two groups. One group wrote ev- interest but not so much that ery few weeks about the use- they undermine confidence, It’s not just academic fulness of the course material and if the incentive program to their lives. The students in ability that determines is voluntary. Further, experts the other group simply wrote motivation, but also the say that any program that of- a summary of what they were capacities and character fers money to students should learning. Students who start- be able to identify precisely ed with high expectations of traits like resilience, self- what behaviors it wants to get course success performed the confidence, and tenacity 14 from them. same in both groups, but that help students stay among students with low ex- the course as the pectations of success, those Seeing the Value in the “relevance group” re- emotional path grows ported a higher interest in sci- rougher and the learning One overarching problem ence and higher grades at the curve steeper. with rewards is that they ig- end of the course than did the nore the value of the task. students who simply wrote 16 They allow the educator to disregard his role in mak- “Value interventions offer a partial the summaries. ing learning more meaningful. “They are essentially way out, because they help encourage students to an ‘out’,” says Chris Hulleman, an associate profes- find the connection between the material and their lives,” Hulleman says. But they still rely on teachers sor of psychology at the University of Virginia who to present material in a way that allows students to has done research on utility value. “If students can’t see the connection. get motivated to learn two-digit multiplication with the teacher having them sit quietly and complete 40 math problems during a 90-minute math class, Changing Mindsets the teacher can just offer a reward for whoever com- pletes the work the fastest.” The problem, Hulleman Data clearly suggests that it’s not just academic says, is that the system “doesn’t require the teacher to ability that determines motivation, but also the think about the purpose of the lesson and whether capacities and character traits like resilience, self- it actually promotes the learning objective.” A bet- confidence, and tenacity that help students stay the ter method, he suggests, might be for the teacher to course as the emotional path grows rougher and embed the problems in an interesting exercise, such the learning curve steeper. An increasingly interdis- as having students do measurements on the play- ground, then asking them to multiply numbers to ciplinary group of researchers—from across such 15 determine the surface area for wood chips. fields as psychology, sociology, education research, Hulleman has conducted studies that dem- and neuroscience—have been learning a great deal onstrate how an intervention designed to show about the beliefs and attitudes that students have students the relevance of science to their lives can about their abilities and their schools. In particu- CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING 7MOTIVATION MATTERS lar, interventions emanating from social psychology Just as studies indicate that fixed mindsets are a have shown real promise in developing skills that barrier to success, they also demonstrate that with increase student motivation. carefully constructed psycho-social interventions One potential barrier to students’ motivation mindsets can actually change. Ranging from com- and success in school is having a “fixed mindset”, prehensive workshops, to messages embedded in the belief that one is either innately good at some- curricula, to subtle tweaks in how teachers provide thing or bad at it, and that all the hard work in the feedback on assignments, these and other interven- world won’t make a difference. Students with fixed tions can help students turn fixed attitudes into mindsets are apt to say things like “I’m not a math growth-oriented ones. person” or “I’ve never been good at languages”. As a result, in the face of obstacles they often give up. The Danger of Stereotypes Notably, high-achieving students can also suffer from fixed mindsets—“I always get A’s so I must be Mindsets apply not only to academics—to the at- smart”—which can keep them from taking risks, titudes that students have about their intellectual thus from reaching their potential, for fear of look- abilities—they also apply to what students believe is ing less than brilliant. their rightful place in school. Regardless of their IQs Students with “growth mindsets”, by con- or the quality of their academic instruction, students trast, believe that with effort, their ability and who doubt their abilities or performance can improve. They are confident that Just as studies indicate question whether they be- even if the calculus or the long at a school can easily that fixed mindsets are a French grammar comes disengage and fall behind. barrier to success, they slowly to them, by work- For first-generation college- also demonstrate that with ing hard they will be able goers and African-Ameri- to achieve. Likewise, ac- can students, in particular, carefully constructed psycho- complished students who stereotypes about academic social interventions mindsets adopt growth mindsets performance can turn into can actually change. take bigger chances and self-fulfilling prophecies. embrace the possibility of The same can also happen failure. The positive attitude prepares them for the with girls who receive messages that they aren’t as 18 realities of later life, helping them recover when good at math as boys are. Researchers are learning much about how wor- their efforts fail to produce the outcomes they have 17 ries about “belongingness” and the phenomenon of come to expect. “stereotype threat” depress motivation and achieve- ment. According to research by Claude Steele, IN FOCUS now executive vice-chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, and Joshua Aronson, asso- In District of Columbia middle schools, students ciate professor of applied psychology at New York are learning how their brains can change with hard work. See page 30 for more on the curriculum and University, the simple act of checking a box to in- the neuroscience behind it. dicate race or sex can trigger stereotypes in students’ 19 minds, and those attitudes can affect their test scores. 8 CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING MOTIVATION MATTERS “When stereotypes are evoked, they fill people’s three studies from a sample of 931 students and minds with distracting thoughts—with secret wor- found no evidence that the math performance of ries about confirming the stereotype,” writes Carol school-age girls was affected by stereotype threat. Dweck, professor of psychol- Explaining the findings, the ogy at Stanford University, in Researchers found that authors said it was possible her book Mindset: The New that the effects of stereotype African-American students Psychology of Success. “People threat occur only in specific did significantly worse on a usually aren’t even aware circumstances or that they test when it was presented of it, but they don’t have occur all the time, depressing to them as an assessment enough mental power left to performance no matter what 20 23 Based on most do their best on the test.” the task. of intellectual ability than Even the suggestion of studies, though, it seems safe when it was presented as a previously unknown ste- to conclude that stereotype simply a test of problem- reotype can affect a student’s threat can diminish student performance, Steele says. In solving skills. achievement, and that edu- one experiment, Aronson cators can counter its poten- and colleagues assessed the effect of this sort of ste- tial ill effects with small interventions that can make reotype threat on white males with strong math abil- a big difference. ities—Stanford students who had scored an average of 712 on the math SAT—who were very confident A Sense of Belonging in those abilities. As the students took a difficult math test, they were told that Asian students typi- One of the things that strongly predicts on-time col- cally performed better on it than did white students. lege graduation is the accumulation of 12 or more The results, Steele reports, were dramatic: The stu- credits by the end of the first term. At the University dents who were given the message about the Asian of Texas, Austin, African-American, poor, and first- students performed, on average, three items worse generation college students are less likely to complete on the 18-question test than did the white males 21 In another experi- the credits than are their more advantaged white and who were not given the message. ment, Steele, Aronson, and fellow researchers found Asian-American peers. Despite its reputation as one that African-American students did significantly of the nation’s most selective public universities, worse on a test when it was presented to them as an U.T.’s flagship in 2013 managed to graduate just assessment of intellectual ability than when it was half of its students in four years. For African-Ameri- presented as simply a test of problem-solving skills. can and Hispanic students, the completion rate was With the latter instruction, Steele writes, “we made even worse—just 39 percent earned their diplomas 24 Experts who have studied this issue the stereotype about black’s intelligence irrelevant in four years. suspect that one reason for low completion rates is a to interpreting their experience on this particular 22 sense on the part of these students that “people like task…And they responded accordingly.” 25 Another study of stereotype threat arrived at dif- them” don’t belong in college. ferent findings. In a study of math performance and Imagine, writes Steele, that you are an African- stereotype threat among girls, Conley M. Ganley of American student at a competitive college. “The Florida State University and colleagues conducted place is saturated with cues that raise questions CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING 9MOTIVATION MATTERS about your fit there—a small number of black and experiment conducted by Walton and psychologist other minority students, few minority faculty and David Yeager at U.T. The summer before starting administrators, ethnic studies programs that are college, 7,335 students—91 percent of the freshman seen as of value primarily for minority students rath- class—participated in an online orientation session. er than for the general student body, an organization Some members of the group received messages about of social life that is heavily shaped by race, and so growth mindsets and social belonging in which older on. Accordingly, your narrative about the situation students told them that worries about belonging alerts you to the possibility that this school is not were common but eased over time. Another group 26 In the right place for you to succeed and thrive.” of students received mundane information such as a major national study of over 12,000 adolescents, where to go for the required meningitis vaccine. the feeling of “belonging in school emerged as one Among disadvantaged students—minority and first- of the two most consistent and generation college-goers—the powerful protective factors students who received the The feeling of “belonging against every measured form of message about growth and in school” was one of 27 adolescent risk and distress.” belongingness completed the two factors that Gregory M. Walton, an credits at a rate nearly 5 assistant professor of psychol- most powerfully and percent higher than those 29 ogy at Stanford University, has who got other information. consistently protected designed a number of studies Although the increase may against risk and distress. that test theories around this seem small, it halved the gap idea of “belongingness”. In between the credit-completion rates of more advantaged students, and it was one, Walton and Geoffrey L. Cohen of Stanford enough to convince administrators to incorporate randomly assigned freshmen at a selective four-year positive mindset messages in orientation materials college to two groups. One group read a report that was ostensibly compiled from a survey of older stu- for all incoming freshmen. dents. These older students, the report indicated, Questions about their rightful place on cam- had also worried about whether they belonged in pus are also common among the approximately 60 college, but their worries dissipated over time. (The percent of community college students who must survey results were said to be consistent across eth- enroll in at least one developmental, or remedial, nic and gender groups.) Participants were then asked course before going on to credit-bearing work. to write an essay and give a speech describing how Often required to repeat math courses they have their own college experiences echoed those in the failed before, fully half of these students quit school 30 They disengage for all survey. They were told that their reflections would within the first few weeks. the reasons mentioned above: they don’t think they help future students ease their transition to col- are smart enough to do the work, they don’t see the lege. Students in the other group, by contrast, read relevance of the class to their lives, they don’t think a survey that addressed topics unrelated to belong- they even belong in college. ing. The results: Over three years, the GPAs of the An initiative developed by the Carnegie African-American students in the treatment group rose steadily, cutting the achievement gap between Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching works 28 black and white students by 79 percent. to disabuse students of these damaging notions. A Walton’s design was also the basis for a 2012 network of about 50 colleges, Community College 10 CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING MOTIVATION MATTERS Pathways gives students two alternative routes—sta- cent who took the traditional path completed the 32 tistics and quantitative reasoning—that integrate Isolating developmental math sequence in one year. developmental courses and college math in ways that the mindset interventions, the program’s leaders help them see how math connects to the real world. have found clear correlations between growth mind- But the difference is not just in structure or curricu- set and a higher number of passing grades and lower lum. (Whereas some colleges require up to six de- rates of course withdrawal. “These beliefs do predict course success,” says Rachel Beattie, director of pro- velopmental courses, the Pathways program reduces the course load to a one-year sequence.) Pathways ductive persistence for the Carnegie Foundation. 33 also addresses the social-emotional and psychologi- “And they can be changed.” These interventions are being conducted in tra- cal barriers that students face by testing strategies to ditional classroom settings, but similar experiments help them persevere. For instance, faculty members have also shown promise online. In one, Stanford ask students to write about the relevance of math; researcher David Paunesku and colleagues studied they introduce the idea of growth mindsets through 265,082 students who took one of the popular a writing activity; they write students e-mails to Khan Academy math courses. In these courses, stu- improve their attendance; and they establish rou- tines to encourage students to contact peers who dents work through a series of problems in which are missing class, knowing that they demonstrate proficiency. students are more successful In the experiment, the Khan 51% of the students when they think their absence website randomly presented who participated in the matters. Overall, students one of several different head- statistics pathway earned learn the value of “productive ings with each math prob- 31 college credit within one struggle”. lem. One heading was blank. Combined with the new Another, the standard encour- year, compared with just curriculum and better teach- agement, told students, “some 15% who followed the ing strategies, the Pathways fo- of these problems are hard, so traditional path. cus on learning strategies and just do your best.” And a third mindset growth has brought flashed a growth-mindset mes- about impressive results: 51 percent of the students sage, such as, “remember, the more you practice, the who participated in the statistics pathway in 2011- smarter you become.” The students who received 12 earned college credit within one year, compared the growth-mindset message succeeded at a rate 2.9 with just 15 percent who followed the traditional percent higher than the group that received no mes- 34 Although the achievement gains were small, path. In the quantitative reasoning program, 56 sage. the Khan Academy study was, from a practical percent of students completed their developmental standpoint, significant. For the first time, it showed math program in one semester, whereas just 21 per- that even the smallest intervention—in this case just a few encouraging words—could be effective and IN FOCUS applied easily in many contexts. How did “self-esteem” go from popular buzzword Some may draw uneasy connections between to outdated cliché? See page 34 to learn why the these new psychological strategies for strengthen- mindset movement has supplanted the every-kid- ing students’ resolve and the self-esteem movement gets-a-trophy one. of years past, which sought to motivate students CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING 11MOTIVATION MATTERS with prizes for participation and copious indiscrimi- aging teacher message opted to turn in new essays, nate praise. The important difference is that self-es- compared to 62 percent of those who got the bland teem advocates typically praised students regardless note. Among African-American students, the effect of their performance, which meant they didn’t dis- was even greater, with 72 percent in the “encouraged” tinguish earned praise from unearned praise. As a group revising the essays, compared to only 17 per- result, they unintentionally encouraged a belief that cent of those who got the bland message. The find- effort doesn’t matter, leaving students with a sense of ings suggested that students were motivated to take “learned helplessness” that diminished their capacity the extra academic step when they perceived their to tackle obstacles and rebound from failure. The teachers’ feedback as a genuine desire to help them 36 new work by Walton, Dweck, and colleagues sug- rather than as an expression of indifference or bias. gests that students are far more likely to be encour- aged by the opposite message: that only with effort Getting “Gritty”, comes achievement. Keeping Control How teachers deliver that message appears to be important—precisely because the message touches Psychologist Angela Duckworth of the University on students’ effort and their sense of competency of Pennsylvania lumps some of these mindsets to- and belonging. In another test of one of Cohen’s gether in the trait known as “grit”—what she defines theories, Yeager and fellow researchers wanted to see as passion and perseverance for long-term goals, the what kind of feedback would encourage seventh- ability to stick with a task day- graders to revise essays they 37 in and day-out. Such disposi- wrote on a personal hero. They Penn students with low tions, her research shows, are knew that it was common for SAT and ACT scores who significantly more likely than teachers to couch negative feed- scored high on a grit things like income and stan- back in positive language or to dardized test scores to predict preface it with a compliment, scale had higher GPAs success in school and beyond. such as “you have some good than students with lower material here”, before detailing To assess grit, Duckworth measures of grit. an assignment’s problems. So developed a scale in which the teachers marked the ini- students rate themselves on a tial essays with standard criticism like “unclear” and series of 12 statements such as “new ideas and proj- “wrong word”. Then they randomly attached one of ects sometimes distract me from previous ones”; two sticky notes on each essay. Half received a bland “setbacks don’t discourage me”; and “I finish what- message saying, “I’m giving you these comments so ever I begin”. Although the test relies entirely on the that you’ll have feedback on your paper.” The other students’ own judgments, Duckworth and her col- half received a note intended to signal teachers’ in- leagues found that it was remarkably predictive of vestment in their students’ success: “I’m giving you achievement. For instance, Penn students with low these comments because I have high standards and SAT and ACT scores who scored high on a grit scale I know you can meet them.” Then teachers gave the had higher GPAs than students with lower mea- 35 students the option to revise their essays. sures of grit. Likewise, grit predicted whether fresh- The results were compelling: Among white stu- men cadets at the U.S. Military Academy would dents, 87 percent of those who received the encour- survive the rigors of the first year. In a 2004 study, 12 CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING MOTIVATION MATTERS Duckworth and colleagues assessed 1,218 cadets higher levels of educational attainment, and even 40 who went through the so-called Beast Barracks, a lower body-mass indexes. summer training program that tested the limits of “The findings surprised us from the start,” writes their physical, emotional, and mental capacities. Mischel in his book The Marshmallow Test, “and they 41 They found that grit was a better predictor of sum- still do.” The results suggested that the children mer retention than self-control or a composite mea- who ate the marshmallows right away were less able to regulate themselves than others. Says Maurice sure of cadet quality used by West Point admissions. Elias, a psychology professor It’s not talent or IQ that makes at Rutgers University, about a student “gritty”, Duckworth Self-control can be taught the potential impact of low says; in fact, she says, grit is by equipping children with usually inversely related to self-regulation: “It means you 38 specific strategies. “It’s both. pick the first response on a KIPP schools are among test instead of reading all the not by toughing it out or the many embracing grit, way to the fourth response. just saying ‘No’, but by going so far as to assess the It means you don’t read the changing how we think.” quality in a regular “charac- directions carefully. It means 39 ter growth card”. At KIPP that you’re maybe skipping schools, one of the inspirational signs on the walls questions. It means a whole lot of things in your reads: “Don’t eat the marshmallow”. This is a refer- academic performance, regardless of how absolutely 42 ence to a classic study of self-control conducted in smart you might happen to be.” 1972 by Walter Mischel and researchers at Stanford What sometimes gets lost in the frequent re- University that serves as a foundation for some of telling of the marshmallow story is that the Stanford researchers had wanted to know not whether the the research by Duckworth and others. In the test, children would wait for their treats but how they researchers put 92 children at the university’s Bing were able to wait—what they did to keep them- Nursery School in a room, offered them a marsh- mallow or other treat and told them that if they selves from eating the marshmallow. The children didn’t eat the treat and waited for the examiner to who managed to avoid the temptation composed come back, they could have more treats. Researchers songs, made faces, picked their noses, played with followed a sample of the students for 20 years and their toes. Some tried to go to sleep. The researchers found that the children who had waited longest for also tried exposing children to images of the treats, their treat scored an average of 210 points more on rather than to the treats themselves, learning that their SATs than the children who had delayed the those who saw only images waited almost twice as least. As adults, they exhibited greater self-control, long as children who had the treat right in front of them. All this suggested that self-control can be taught by equipping children with specific strate- IN FOCUS gies. “It’s not by toughing it out or just saying ‘No’” 43 writes Mischel, “but by changing how we think.” Today’s character education, typified by KIPP, As more and more schools embrace programs to is the latest in a century of shifting approaches develop grit, the movement has drawn some back- to promoting social values and civic behavior in schools. See page 36 for a discussion. lash from critics who suggest that the priority is mis- placed. Some say that an emphasis on grit wrongly CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING 13MOTIVATION MATTERS values specialization over wider experiences, as when ing despite boredom and frustration,” says one of the Duckworth highlights students who single-minded- loudest of these critics, writer-pundit Alfie Kohn, in ly pursue victory in a spelling bee to the exclusion a commentary for Education Week, “the less likely of other endeavors. And Magdalena G. Grohman, we are to ask whether those assignments are actually associate director of the Center for Values, Medicine worth doing, or to rethink an arrangement where 47 and Technology at the University of Texas, Dallas, teachers mostly talk and students mostly listen.” At the same time, critics deplore the message says that while there may be a clear connection be- they insist grit advocates are sending to students tween grit and achievement at, say, military school, struggling with poverty and other ills. Ira Socol, an the correlation is far less apparent in creative work. education researcher at Michigan State University, In two analyses of college undergraduates, argues that that while grit is essential to success, dis- Grohman and fellow researchers compared students’ advantaged children are already “the grittiest kids on ratings on grit (and other factors such as openness to experience) and compared them to the students’ ac- earth.” The very fact that they can get themselves ademic and extracurricular records, including their to school every day, he says, is itself proof that they 48 In their book achievements in visual art, writing, performance possess the essential ingredient. Scarcity: The New Science of art, and scientific ingenuity. Having Less and How It Defines She found that grit had “no “The more effort we Our Lives, economists Sendhil effect whatsoever” on creative devote to getting students 44 In a recent Mullainathan of Harvard achievement. to pay attention… the presentation to the American University and Eldar Shafir Psychological Association, less likely we are to of Princeton University write Grohman said that grit “taps that while shortages (of food, ask whether those into highly effective learning money, and the like) can lead assignments are actually in a very structured environ- to solutions (because those worth doing, or to rethink ment, but not necessarily in suffering from them need to someone who thrives on dif- be resourceful), they can also an arrangement where 45 Similar find- ferent interests.” reduce our mental capacities; teachers mostly talk and ings come from Zorina Ivcevic our preoccupation with what students mostly listen.” Pringer, an associate research we lack reduces our capac- 49 scientist with the Yale Center Thus, ity for everything else. for Emotional Intelligence. She found that neither Socol argues that what deprived children need is not grit nor perseverance predicted a student’s success in grit but “slack”—allowances enjoyed by the more 46 affluent, “moments when necessity is not the sole a number of creative pursuits. 50 More broadly, and perhaps most significantly, driver” of their actions. critics on the left say the emphasis on grit essentially A related caveat is suggested by a 2012 update blames students for shortcomings that are more ap- to Mischel’s marshmallow study. The study, by propriately the responsibility of schools and society: Celeste Kidd, Holly Palmeri, and Richard N. Aslin the kids are expected to “get grittier” while their of the University of Rochester, found that children’s teachers continue to teach the way they always have. capacity for self-control—an essential component of grit—is influenced as much by their environment as “The more effort we devote to getting students to pay attention to the teacher rather than daydream- by innate ability. In the study, researchers once again 14 CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING MOTIVATION MATTERS put children in front of a tempting marshmallow, responded differently to mindset messages than did but right beforehand they arranged for the children students from other ethnic groups. They tended to be to interact with an adult. In some cases, the adult was more community-oriented. So an effective message reliable: he promised crayons for these students, Yeager says, and delivered. In other cases, “Many students have might be one that suggests that he did not. Only one out of 14 by developing growth mindsets legitimate worries about children who had dealt with they could help their commu- whether they can safely 53 the unreliable adult held out nities as well as themselves. invest themselves in Another question for for the treat, whereas half the researchers is about how long children who had interacted schoolwork. These worries interventions should last and with the reliable adult managed are the result of societal how often they should be to wait. Based on what they messages that if you repeated. The danger is of a knew, the children who didn’t struggle, it means you are message being repeated so wait made a perfectly sensible choice, the researchers say: If a frequently that it loses its power not ‘smart’.” child lives in an environment and credibility. Some students in which promises routinely get broken, and where are still benefiting from the original interventions outcomes are unreliable, his most reasonable response years later, Yeager says, even when there is no specific 51 is to go with the bird in the hand. reinforcement of the message. This outcome may be Mindset interventions don’t work for everybody, the result of positive influences of family and peers, and if they are deployed improperly, or with the but Yeager says other students may need to hear wrong students, they could even backfire. Researchers the message again. Thus researchers are testing the 54 also stress that mindset interventions are not about efficacy of occasional “booster shots”. “fixing” students with inherent deficiencies or Finally, all these studies have been based on data insecurities. “Many students have legitimate worries about student attitudes that, however meticulously collected, remains incomplete. Researchers want to about whether they can safely invest themselves in learn more about what students believe in the first schoolwork,” Yeager writes. “These worries are the place. Focus groups can help them fine-tune or result of societal messages that if you struggle, it correct the assumptions they are making, helping means you are not ‘smart’, or of pervasive stereotypes about low-income students or students of color. them learn even more about students’ biases, hopes, Our interventions help orient students toward other and fears. ways of thinking, or help enhance their feelings of belonging so that they can invest in school and 52 Building Relationships achieve more than society might have expected.” Researchers say we now need to understand more about how to get the most of out of these promis- Another promoter of student motivation, accord- ing interventions and about which students gain ing to research, is an educational environment that the most from them and in what contexts. Whom helps students develop and maintain positive, mean- should interventions target? How should they do so, ingful relationships with adults and peers at school. In other words, students care when they feel cared and when? How personal, how tailored, should they about. be? Native American students, for instance, often CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING 15MOTIVATION MATTERS Works Clearinghouse. In one study cited by the Connecting with Adults department, 94 students in special education who had received Check & Connect interventions for Many students, especially those in distressed fami- lies, lack a consistent, caring adult to support them two years in middle school were randomly assigned through school; others aren’t able to connect with to treatment and control groups upon entering adults who do care. Numerous studies have shown the ninth grade. By the end of that year, the treat- that having the reliable support of a “pro-social” ment group students who continued to participate adult strongly protects students against the conse- in Check & Connect were significantly more likely quences of even the worst psychological trauma. All than those who didn’t participate to be enrolled in else being equal, students achieve at higher rates, school, to have had absences of no more than 15 and are less likely to drop out and feel more posi- days, and to be on track to graduate within five years. tively about school, when they have ongoing con- In another study, 147 elementary students who were 55 nections with teachers. absent from or late for school 12 percent or more A program known as Check & Connect is of the time participated in Check & Connect for one initiative that addresses this need by provid- two years. At the end of that time, about 40 percent ing trained mentors for K-12 students at risk of were engaged in and regularly attending school— academic failure. Chicago Public Schools is using a 135 percent improvement over baseline behavior. Check & Connect to attack Incidence of tardiness also de- Students achieve at 59 a devastating truancy prob- clined dramatically. higher rates, and are less A program that expands lem in the city’s elementary on these encouraging findings schools. A report found that likely to drop out and feel is Building Assets, Reducing 32,000 students in kindergar- more positively about Risks (BARR), an initiative ten through eighth grade— school, when they have that was established 15 years one in every eight Chicago ongoing connections with ago by teacher-counselor students—had missed more than four weeks of school in Angela Jerabek at Minnesota’s teachers. 57 2010-11. Students are re- St. Louis Park High School, ferred to Check & Connect when they first show then a low-performing school in suburban signs of disengaging—by skipping school, for in- Minneapolis. BARR reaches students by first help- stance. The “check” in the name means the school ing teachers: It trains educators specifically on how carefully monitors grades, attendance, and other to enhance their relationships with students in a way performance data. “Connect” means the school that improves students’ connections to school, thus 60 57 partners students with trained adult mentors. their motivation to learn. BARR directs its efforts exclusively at ninth- The program, writes Jonathan Guryan of the graders because more students are likely to fail in Northwestern University’s Institute of Policy 61 that year than at any other time in their schooling. Research, “thinks of dropping out not as something Teams of teachers, counselors, and social workers that happens when kids are 15 to 17, but as the end- 58 are assigned to groups of freshmen, and three teach- point of a developmental process that starts earlier.” ers are responsible for each student. They meet once The program’s success with elementary and a week to rate “the whole student”, giving each a middle school students in Chicago gained it recog- number from one to four based on what level of nition by the U.S. Department of Education’s What 16 CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING MOTIVATION MATTERS intervention the student seems to need. Later, the Connecting with Peers team meets with an administrator and a counselor to conduct an overall risk review, after which the Students are, to some degree, products of their so- school may connect the student with a social worker cial groups. Peer pressure, a phenomenon usually or other community resources. associated with negative influ- “It used to be that you For 30 minutes each week, ences, can also serve as a posi- teachers also instruct students tive force. Children who asso- were rewarded for not in non-academic skills like ciate with other students who causing problems. Now we stress management. During are highly engaged, research want you to open up. Like this so-called “I-Time”, stu- shows, become more engaged why are you not coming to dents are encouraged to share themselves. These positive rela- 62 their problems and thoughts. tionships are characterized by my class but you are going “It used to be that you were re- trust, good communication, to Justin’s class?” warded for not causing prob- and a willingness to help—all lems,” says Justin Barbeau, a spokesman for BARR. factors that can make students feel they belong in “Now we want you to open up. Like why are you not a school group, which in turn cause them to more coming to my class but you are coming to Justin’s fully connect. With these relationships also come fa- class?” But he stresses that the content of the initia- vorable views of learning, along with better skills for tive is not the primary piece; what matters most, he communicating and solving problems. All, again, says, and what is most apparent to the student, is are attitudes and competencies associated with mo- 63 that the teacher cares. tivation and engagement. Some teachers at BARR schools have made the Given the importance of these connections, predictable and rational protests: the initiative felt educators are finding ways to actively help students “soft”; it was another program that added more build them. They hold morning meetings to set time to their day. But signs of success, says Jerabek, the tone for the day, encourage students to work have brought the teachers around. Since the pro- in groups, and schedule advisory periods. What all gram started, St. Louis Park went from being one these strategies have in common is that they give of the lowest-performing high schools in Minnesota students a chance to share their feelings in a safe 64 According to the U.S. to being one of the highest. and supportive environment. The better students Department of Education, several independent know each other, say Helen McGrath of Deakin studies of BARR have shown statistically significant University and Toni Noble of Australian Catholic positive outcomes in students earning course cred- University, “the more likely they are to… focus on its, getting more engaged, and earning higher test similarities between themselves and other students 66 scores. Students in a randomized control trial at St. and become more accepting of differences.” This Louis Park High School produced two years of aca- understanding in turn encourages a sense of com- demic growth in math (the equivalent of going from munity and belonging. The Carnegie Foundation’s the eighth to the tenth grade) compared to peers in Community College Pathways program considers a control group, who actually lost a year of growth, peer relationships to be so important to academic going from the equivalent of eighth grade to the success that four of the 10 standard activities in its 65 equivalent of seventh grade. “Starting Strong” package are dedicated to building 67 relationships and setting group norms. CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING 17MOTIVATION MATTERS One initiative that has the development of “Tribes is providing students with repeated op- these relationships at its core is Tribes Learning portunities to collaborate, problem-solve, reflect, Communities, a non-profit organization that posits and build a repertoire of skills that will transfer to that students achieve best when they feel included the schoolyard and, ultimately, to their life out- and respected, are actively side of elementary school,” involved in their learning, and The better students Gambertoglio says. “Students are held to high expectations. aren’t afraid to try, and try know each other, the 69 Gambertoglio’s Originally conceived as a again.” more likely they are to thoughts are echoed by J.C. program to prevent substance focus on similarities Harville, who has served as abuse, Tribes evolved into a principal of two elemen- broader model when teachers between themselves and tary schools in and around realized that the strategies others and become more Houston and saw discipline they were using to keep kids accepting of differences. away from drugs could help problems drop and academic students learn core academic achievement rise after the content as well. Students are grouped into “tribes” schools implemented Tribes. “More students were for as long as the entire school year, participating actively involved,” Harville says. “Tribes was the 70 daily in “community circles” through which they glue that held the school together.” The research firm WestEd conducted an evalu- learn how to help each other, set goals, assess ation of Tribes in 2004, surveying over 300 teach- progress, and celebrate achievements. They abide ers and almost 2,000 students at 17 schools, and by four simple agreements: to listen attentively, to found that over 90 percent of the teachers agreed show appreciation and refrain from insulting or or strongly agreed that their students partici- dismissing each other, to practice mutual respect, 68 pated in inclusive peer groups that foster belong- and to exercise the right to participate or “pass”. At Franklin Elementary School in Burlingame, ing and equal opportunity, and that their students Calif., third-grade teacher Catherine Gambertoglio showed respect for students of various cultural 71 uses the Tribes process to get her students work- Student responses also reflected the backgrounds. ing and talking with each other to encourage these Tribes emphasis on relationships: 81 percent said it positive relationships. In one lesson, she has the was “very much” or “pretty much” true that a teach- students building paper towers. Their materials are er or other adult in the school really cared about them, and 83 percent gave the same responses about limited to a few pieces of paper, a pair of scissors, 72 having a peer in that role. In a 2000 study of the some tape, and a whiteboard on which to sketch School District of Beloit, Wisc., nearly 60 percent a design. They must work under a tight dead- of teachers said they spent less time managing class- line—10 minutes—with students they have only room behavior after they adopted Tribes, and stu- just teamed with. And as the ultimate challenge, dents who had participated in the program scored they are not allowed to talk; they must design and significantly higher on achievement tests than did build a complete tower using only hand signals to communicate. The result is visible frustration, those who did not participate. Another 2000 study a flurry of industry, and, just under the wire, six of 18 teachers and 495 students found that students finished towers. who participated in classrooms where Tribes was 18 CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING MOTIVATION MATTERS faithfully implemented scored significantly higher teachers and parents may be more revealing, but they on reading comprehension tests than did students cost more money and take more time. Attendance in classrooms where the program was implemented records and discipline referrals can speak to skills less well or not used at all. like persistence and self-control, but they don’t capture the nuances of the learning environment. Behavioral (or performance) tasks that record stu- Challenges to Scaling Up dents’ responses to simulated scenarios more closely approximate real-life situations, but they require de- While many strategies for increasing student moti- velopment and standardization. vation show great promise, putting them into wide- Of these assessments, surveys answered by stu- spread practice presents several significant obstacles. dents themselves are the most common method of Foremost among them are measurement, teacher capturing non-cognitive skills, and research clearly training, and translating research into practice. points to their limitations. In a recent paper pub- lished by the Brown Center on Education Policy, Senior Fellow Martin R. West, an associate profes- Problems with Measurement sor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, observes that student questionnaires are subject to Proponents of enhancing motivation generally agree faking because of the phenomenon known as “so- that we need to measure motivation before we can cial desirability bias”, the inclination students have judge the effectiveness of interventions to increase to make themselves appear better to themselves and it. Accurate gauges of motivation and other non- others. When presented with the statement “I am a cognitive skills would help educators diagnose stu- hard worker”, for instance, a student might choose dents, target remediation and enrichment, improve the response option “very much like me”. Even more programs, and assess the ef- troubling, according to West, Student questionnaires fectiveness of entire systems. is the problem of “reference Several assessment models are bias”, in which survey respons- are subject to faking in now in place to do this. es are influenced by differ- because of the Along with Duckworth’s Grit ent standards of comparison. phenomenon known as Scale and the KIPP character For instance, West explains, “social desirability bias”, growth card, there are ETS’s “a child with high standards Personal Potential Index, Josh- might consider a hard worker the inclination students ua J. Jackson et al.’s Behavioral to be someone who does all have to make themselves Indicators of Conscientious- of her homework well before appear better to ness, and others. bedtime and, in addition, or- themselves and others. But as advocates of non- ganizes and reviews all of her cognitive education readily notes from the day’s classes. concede, measuring skills like grit and conscien- Another child might consider a hard worker to be tiousness is difficult to do reliably. Students’ assess- someone who brings home her assignments and ments of themselves, while easy to administer, are attempts to complete them, even if most of them not always accurate or timely. Reports made by remain unfinished the next morning.” Reference CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING 19MOTIVATION MATTERS bias seems to have affected Duckworth’s West Point measures into accountability measures is the best study, in which cadets’ self-reported levels of grit de- way to direct attention to this area of learning. And clined over four years—a seemingly unlikely result they are working on ways to do so. A prominent given that the students were overcoming consider- experiment is underway in California, where a con- able physical and mental challenges. Duckworth’s sortium of large school systems known as the CORE explanation is that the cadets’ judgments of them- districts, won a waiver from certain provisions of the selves changed because they federal No Child Left Behind were comparing themselves to Many conclude that law by proposing a more ho- 73 increasingly gritty peers. listic approach to student current measures of Educators can use existing achievement. In the 2015-16 non-cognitive skills are data to try to measure non- school year, fully 40 percent neither accurate enough cognitive skills. Duckworth of CORE’s accountability and her University of and improvement model for nor reliable enough to Pennsylvania colleague Claire schools will be comprised of be used in high-stakes Robertson-Kraft, for instance, students’ social and emotional accountability systems. have measured the degree to outcomes and factors having to 76 which students participate in do with school culture. The CORE districts received the federal waiver outside work and extra-curricular activities and used based on their School Quality Improvement System, the results to try to make inferences about grit and 74 Results on achievement tests, ac- which calls for districts to collaborate “to eliminate other capacities. cording to a recent RAND Corporation report, can disparity and disproportionality in all subjects and also reveal behavioral characteristics; some of the across the academic, social/emotional, and culture/ more sophisticated new assessments, for instance, climate domains”. Performance in these domains is can show how many attempts a student makes captured in an index whose indicators include such to answer a question or how often he moves the competencies as growth mindset, self-management, computer mouse. But the authors of report, Brian and social awareness as measured through students’ Stecher and Laura Hamilton, say we need far more self-reports. School culture and climate are also as- 77 research on how to make sense of this behavior and sessed with surveys of students, parents, and staff. 75 Incorporating non-academic factors in an ac- how to convert it into useful information. Because of their multiple drawbacks, West, countability model is an “audacious goal”, admits Stecher, Hamilton and others have concluded that Noah Bookman, chief accountability officer for current measures of non-cognitive skills are neither CORE. But Bookman said the districts moved accurate enough nor reliable enough to be used in ahead because of evidence showing that social and high-stakes accountability systems. West says that emotional skills are as predictive of success as aca- survey-based measures, in particular, while they demic capacities, if not more so. The district deliber- may help us compare students within the same edu- ately uses the word “competencies” to describe these cational environment, “are inadequate to gauge the skills to put them on a par with academic ones. And effectiveness of schools, teachers, or interventions in by measuring them, they have committed to teach- 78 cultivating the development of those skills.” ing them. To create the measures, CORE partnered with Others, however, while acknowledging the the non-profit Transforming Education, which cu- problems, contend that incorporating non-cognitive 20 CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING MOTIVATION MATTERS rated existing survey scales from researchers like Separate from the school accountability in- Duckworth and Camille Farrington, research asso- dex, CORE districts have also incorporated social ciate at the University of Chicago, as well as organi- and emotional learning into their frameworks for zations like the Collaborative for Academic, Social, educator effectiveness. At Oakland Unified School and Emotional Learning and District, for instance, a des- the American Institutes for ignated department works to “We’re changing the Research. About 20 CORE build understanding of this conversation about what schools piloted a set of student kind of learning among adults, accountability should be. self-reports and teacher reports making the case for systemati- Our approach is more in the 2013-14 school year cally including it in curricula. in order to assess the validity about a way to articulate Oakland holds its teachers and and reliability of the measures. principals to social and emo- priorities and a way They found that, on average, tional standards by tying them for schools to identify 82 both student self-reports and to effectiveness ratings. areas of strength and But concerns, and criti- teacher reports were positively cisms, remain. While CORE correlated with external vari- challenge.” has found that teacher re- ables like GPA and standard- ports on students were more highly correlated ized test scores. During the 2014-15 school year, with standardized test scores, GPAs, absences, and CORE tested a refined set of survey-based measures suspensions than were students’ self-reports alone, with all 1,500 schools. With this dataset—the larg- est of its kind—CORE will examine the relation- Bookman says that “teacher reports are not as fea- 83 And he concedes that student ships between student and teacher responses, as well sible to do at scale.” self-reports pose substantial limitations. “It’s an ex- as correlations among social-emotional competen- 84 periment,” he says. cies, academic outcomes, behavioral outcomes, and school culture and climate. In 2015-16, the full in- dex will be tied to actual stakes. Based on the results, Training Teachers CORE will pair low-performing schools with high- er-performing ones, with the latter serving as men- A considerable challenge to implementing motiva- tors. Other schools will participate in communities 79 tion-enhancing strategies is the need to train teach- of practice, implementing cycles of improvement. According to Sara Bartolino of Transforming ers to do it well. Traditional teacher education pro- Education, teachers want to be able to use the re- grams provide novices little help in this regard. In a sulting information to assess students’ social and 2014 study, the National Council on Teacher Quali- 80 emotional skills and tailor interventions. That is ty found that among 105 such programs, 51 percent Bookman’s goal, too: an accountability system that did not address student engagement, and 57 percent has improvement and support, rather than labeling did not address motivation. The findings are per- and punishment, at its heart. “We’re changing the haps not surprising since the certification standards conversation about what accountability should be,” in only 29 states mention student engagement as a he says. “Our approach is more about a way to required area of training, and standards in just 24 articulate priorities and a way for schools to identify states mention motivation. Teachers also have few 81 areas of strength and challenge.” good ways to acquire such skills on the job. Many CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING 21