As every teacher knows, they teach not just content but a range of skills students will need to be successful as adults. A recent study shows just how important fostering those skills is: Teachers who help students improve non-cognitive skills such as self-regulation raise their grades and likelihood of graduating from high school more than teachers who help them improve their standardized test scores do.
“Good teachers may affect students much more broadly than through their impact on achievement test scores,” explains the study’s author, C. Kirabo Jackson, an economics professor at Northwestern University.
比起考試成績，一個好的老師更能透過自身的影響力來廣泛地影響學生。該研究的作者，西北大學經濟學教授C. Kirabo Jackson這樣說。
Looking at data on over 570,000 students in North Carolina, Jackson found that ninth-grade teachers who improved their students’ non-cognitive skills—which include motivation and the ability to adapt to new situations, as well as self-regulation—had important impacts on those students: They were more likely to have higher attendance and grades and to graduate than their peers. They were also less likely to be suspended and to be held back a grade.These benefits persisted throughout high school.
The problem, Jackson points out, is that the skills that are valuable for future success aren’t usually measured on tests. And while teachers are often praised for their ability to raise test scores, Jackson’s analysis shows that teachers who improve student behaviors such as attendance yield better long-term outcomes for those students. Jackson found that an increase in measures of students’ non-cognitive skills increased their likelihood of graduating from high school by 1.47 percentage points, compared to 0.12 percentage points for a similar increase in test scores.
Coupled with the other long-term outcomes found in the study, this adds to the growing body of research showing the impact of developing students’ non-cognitive skills.