Dr Leslie Gutman and Professor Ingrid Schoon
This literature review sets out to summarise existing evidence about how non-cognitive skills can be defined and measured. It examines evidence around the impact of these skills on later life outcomes, and the role of interventions that aimed to improve non-cognitive skills in children and young people.
Non-cognitive skills refer to the attitudes, behaviours, and strategies that can underpin success in school and at work, such as motivation, perseverance, and self-control. They are increasingly considered to be as important as, or even more important than, cognitive skills or IQ in explaining academic and employment outcomes.
The review finds that while there does not seem to be one non-cognitive skill that is the crucial ‘silver bullet’ for predicting outcomes for young people, there are positive signs that the development of certain non-cognitive skills can help improve pupils’ academic performance.
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