Study Links Teacher ‘Grit’ with Effectiveness, Retention

Education Week:

In recent years, we’ve heard a lot about gritty students.  Now grit researchers are turning their attention to teachers. In a study published in the current issue of the peer-reviewed journal Teachers College Record, University of Pennsylvania researchers Claire Robertson-Kraft and Angela Duckworth found that, for novice teachers in high-poverty school districts, higher levels of  “perseverance and passion for long-term goals”  (aka “grit”)  were associated with higher rates of effectiveness and retention. 

“No single factor alone should determine a hiring decision for a teacher,” said Robertson-Kraft, a doctoral candidate in education policy and former 3rd grade teacher.  “But the study does suggest that grit is one factor that could be considered among many.”

This is not the first study of teachers and grit for Duckworth, an associate professor of psychology and MacArthur Fellow who has been credited with coining the term “grit” in 2007. An earlier study, published in the peer-refereed Journal of Positive Psychology in 2009, also found that grittier novice teachers were more effective novice teachers. However, a limitation of that study was that it relied on self reports of grit. (For instance, participants were asked to rate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with such sentences as “Setbacks don’t discourage me.”) A problem with self-reported measures is that people are more likely to agree with socially desirable statements simply because they think they should.

Read the whole story: Education Week

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