Chicago Public Schools Project
A growing body of evidence shows that cognitive assessments like IQ and achievement tests fail to capture non-cognitive (socio-emotional) skills that are important predictors of life outcomes and can be improved through education. Despite this evidence, most governments rely exclusively on achievement tests to evaluate schools, school districts, and even teachers. It is widely thought that non-cognitive skills cannot be reliably measured in practice, and there remains no uniform agreement about the most appropriate way to measure them.
The Spencer Foundation project on measuring non-cognitive skills compares the predictive validity of several different methods for eliciting quantitative measurement of students socio-emotional skills using a sample of approximately 650 ninth grade students currently enrolled in the Chicago Public School system. We will be collecting responses to a survey that includes several competing personality inventories in order to compare and contrast what is captured by these various measurement approaches and to estimate the extent to which different measures predict later outcomes.
In this study we are considering as outcomes the student’s grade progression, conduct, achievement test scores, and accumulation of class credits accumulation. We will also examine the relationship between survey-based measures and measures that can be crafted from administrative data, such as absences, prior grades, and previous disciplinary infractions. Administrative data may provide a low-cost way for schools to measure non-cognitive skills which may have higher predictive validity than the survey based methods that are being proposed by many schools.
Frequently Asked Questions
Table 1: 9th-Grade Non-Cognitive Skill Measures
|Self-reported non-cognitive skills||Survey collection||Big Five, Grit, Self-Control, Locus of Control, Self-Efficacy, Self-Esteem, Anchoring Vignettes, Forced Choice Questionnaires|
|Economic preference parameters||Survey collection||Self-Reported Risk Aversion, Discount Rate, Altruism, Positive and Negative Reciprocity|
|Academic records||Chicago Public Schools||Achievement Test Scores, Grades, Credits Earned, Absences, Disciplinary Infractions|
Table 2: Outcome Measures
|Secondary Educational Attainment||Chicago Public Schools||Grade progression from 9th to 10th grade|
|Academic records||Chicago Public Schools||10th-grade achievement test score, grades, credits earned, absences, disciplinary infractions|
Table 3: Additional Outcome Measures
|Secondary Educational Attainment||Chicago Public Schools||Grade progression, high school graduation|
|Post-Secondary Educational Attainment||National Student Clearinghouse||College enrollment, type of college (two vs. four-year), extent of enrollment (full vs. part time)|
|Academic records||Chicago Public Schools||ACT, grades, credits earned, absences, disciplinary infractions (11th, and 12th grade)|
|Criminal Records||Chicago Police Department||Arrests|