US ED Reports on Grit, Tenacity & Perseverance

The U.S Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology (OET) posted a report for public comment: Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century. The report examines factors that can promote students’ capacity to strive for and succeed at fulfilling long-term and higher-order goals and persist in the face of challenges and setbacks they will encounter throughout schooling and life. The report aims to identify critical themes, questions, conclusions, and recommendations around theory, measurement, and the design of learning environments, with an eye toward identifying potential new roles for technology.
Paul Tough took on the enormous question of How Children Succeed in his popular book. In a well-produced long interview with Ira Glass, Tough said, “We don’t teach the most important skills,” a list that includes “persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence.”  Getting Smart reviewed Tough’s book and talked to experts at Turnaround and WestEd about How Children Succeed: Attachment, Advisory & Adversity.
As discussed in the OET’s recently released Expanding Evidence Approaches for Learning in a Digital World report, the landscape of using new technologies to capture, organize and analyze vast quantities of data is rapidly evolving. Getting Smart reviewed the proposed New Approaches to Capturing Evidence.
In this new report, OET takes a closer look at how technologies can provide a variety of affordances that can be leveraged to support students’ grit, tenacity, and perseverance. Key examples are that technologies can:
  1. permit greater sophistication of assessment and adaptation to individual learning needs;
  2. integrate different documents, textbook and multimedia materials, devices, and sources of information to provide supports to help students stay organized, manage time, and feel confident; and
  3. enable students and teachers to utilize an unprecedented wealth of online and digital resources.
Check out the summary table on page 50; it compares types of programs (school readiness, reform models, informal learning, and digital environments) with grade level appropriateness, setting, focus, and evidence.
OET hopes the report will open dialogue among the edtech R&D community, edtech funders, policymakers, and educators about the needs and responsibilities of all educational stakeholders to prepare children and adolescents to thrive in the 21st century—an era of rapidly evolving technology, demanding and collaborative STEM knowledge work, changing workforce needs, economic volatility, and achievement gaps that must be closed for the benefit of everyone in society.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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