In educational research, an age-old question has remained unanswered: Does IQ or hard work matter more in predicting success in school? Intellectual gifts have been studied extensively, but other non-cognitive factors contributing to success have been less carefully examined. One factor is “grit”, defined by Duckworth et al (2007), as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” This research studies the impact of grit, or perseverance for long-term goals and intelligence on middle school students’ GPAs.
We hypothesized that change in grit over a span of two years would be a better predictor of GPA than aptitude (New York State Education Department Exams). Intelligence was measured using state test exams administered annually. Surveys (Duckworth’s Grit Survey, the Ten-Item Personality Inventory, the Brief Self-Control Scale, and the Eysenck Youth Impulsivity Scale) were distributed to 434 fifth- and seventh-graders in 2010 to measure factors such as grit and self-control. In 2012, 289 of those students were re-surveyed.
Of those tested twice, the best predictor was the student’s previous GPAs, but aptitude was also a powerful influence. However, grit still displayed statistical significance in predicting GPA, especially in English classes. In both regressions, grit was more strongly linked to English than math.
Lawrence High School
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