Assessing and Reporting Non-Cognitive Skills: A Cross-Canada Survey
Keywords:assessment, non-cognitive skills, reporting, grading, work habits, learning skills
Canadian educational jurisdictions require teachers to assess and report upon aspects of student performance beyond academic achievement. These skills and competencies are often called “non-cognitive skills” (NCS). This study used document analysis to determine which NCS are assessed across provinces, identifying commonalities, variations in the skills assessed, and how these skills are reported. While substantial variability was found in the labelling of these skills, the assessments of collaboration, responsibility, organization, and independence commonly appeared. Further, these skills are typically reported upon using a 3 or 4-point rating scale. Of interest, provinces typically used economic arguments to justify their inclusion of NCS in students’ report cards.
Alberta, Department of Education. (2013). Ministerial order on student learning #001-2013. Retrieved from https://archive.education.alberta.ca/media/6951645/skmbt_c36413050707450.pdf Alberta: Government of Alberta.
Alberta Regional Consortia. (N.D.). Alberta’s Cross-Curricular Competencies. Retrieved from http://erlc.ca/resources/resources/cross_curricular_competencies_overview/ documents/competencies-poster_11x17.pdf.
Allan, N. P., Hume, L. E., Allan, D. M., Farrington, A. L., & Lonigan, C. J. (2014). Relations between inhibitory control and the development of academic skills in preschool and kindergarten: A meta-analysis. Developmental Psychology, 50(10), 2368.
Almlund, M., Duckworth, A. L., Heckman, J. J., & Kautz, T. D. (2011). Personality psychology and economics (No. w16822). National Bureau of Economic Research.
Atlantic Provinces Education Foundation. (2013). The Atlantic Canada framework for essential graduation learnings in schools. Retrieved from https://www.ednet.ns.ca/files/reports/essential_grad_learnings.pdf.
Blair, C., Ursache, A., Greenberg, M., & Vernon-Feagans, L. (2015). Multiple aspects of self-regulation uniquely predict mathematics but not letter–word knowledge in the early elementary grades. Developmental psychology, 51(4), 459.
Boekaerts, M., & Corno, L. (2005). Self‐regulation in the classroom: A perspective on assessment and intervention. Applied Psychology, 54(2), 199-231.
Borghans, L., Duckworth, A. L., Heckman, J. J., & Ter Weel, B. (2008). The economics and psychology of personality traits. Journal of human Resources,43(4), 972-1059.
Bowles, S., & Gintis, H. (2011). Schooling in capitalist America: Educational reform and the contradictions of economic life. Haymarket Books.
Bowles, S., Gintis, H., & Osborne, M. (2001). The determinants of earnings: A behavioural approach. Journal of Economic Literature 39, 1137-1176.
British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2001). Social Responsibility Performance Standards. Retrieved from https://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/perf_stands/s8to10.pdf.
British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2015). Core Competencies. Retrieved from https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/competencies
Brookhart, S. M. (1994). Teachers' grading: Practice and theory. Applied measurement in Education, 7(4), 279-301.
Cawley, J., Parmar, R., Foley, T., Salmon, S., & Roy, S. (2001). Arithmetic performance of students: Implications for standards and programming. Exceptional Children, 67, 311-328.
Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Furnham, A. (2008). Personality, intelligence and approaches to learning as predictors of academic performance. Personality and individual differences, 44(7), 1596-1603.
Conference Board of Canada. (2015). Employability Skills 2000+. Retrieved from http://www.conferenceboard.ca/topics/education/learning-tools/employability-skills.aspx.
Corno, L. (2011). Studying Self-Regulation Habits. In Zimmerman, B., & Schunk, D. H. (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation of learning and performance (pp. 361-375). New York: Taylor & Francis.
Costa, A. L., & Kallick, B. (2000). Assessing & Reporting on Habits of Mind. A Developmental Series, Book 3. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Alexandria, VA.
Cox, K. B. (2011). Putting classroom grading on the table: A reform in progress. American Secondary Education, 40(1), 67.
Credé, M., & Kuncel, N. R. (2008). Study habits, skills, and attitudes: The third pillar supporting collegiate academic performance. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3(6), 425-453.
Davies, S., & Guppy, N. (1997). Globalization and educational reforms in Anglo-American democracies. Comparative Education Review, 41(4), 435-459.
DeLuca, C., & Bellara, A. (2013). The current state of assessment education aligning policy, standards, and teacher education curriculum. Journal of Teacher Education, 64(4), 356-372.
Diamond, A. (2012). Activities and programs that improve children’s executive functions. Current directions in psychological science, 21(5), 335-341.
Dinsmore, D. L., Alexander, P. A., & Loughlin, S. M. (2008). Focusing the conceptual lens on metacognition, self-regulation, and self-regulated learning. Educational Psychology Review, 20(4), 391-409.
Duckworth, A., & Gross, J. J. (2014). Self-control and grit related but separable determinants of success. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(5), 319-325.
Duckworth, A. L., & Schulze, R. (2009). Jingle Jangle: A Meta-Analysis of Convergent Validity Evidence for Self-Control Measures. Manuscript. University of Pennsylvania, Department of Psychology.
Dweck, C., Walton, G. M., & Cohen, G. L. (2011). Academic tenacity: Mindsets and skills that promote long-term learning. Gates Foundation. Seattle, WA: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Farrington, C. A., Roderick, M., Allensworth, E., Nagaoka, J., Keyes, T. S., Johnson, D. W., & Beechum, N. O. (2012). Teaching adolescents to become learners. The role of noncognitive factors in shaping school performance: A critical literature review. Chicago: University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research.
Galla, B. M., Plummer, B. D., White, R. E., Meketon, D., D'Mello, S. K., & Duckworth, A. L. (2014). The Academic Diligence Task (ADT): Assessing individual differences in effort on tedious but important schoolwork. Contemporary educational psychology, 39(4), 314-325.
Gintis, H. (1971). Education, technology, and the characteristics of worker productivity. The American Economic Review, 61, 266-279.
Guskey, T. R. (2006). Making high school grades meaningful. Phi Delta Kappan, 87(9), 670.
Hattie, J., Biggs, J., & Purdie, N. (1996). Effects of learning skills interventions on student learning: A meta-analysis. Review of educational research, 66(2), 99-136.
Heatherton, T. F., & Wagner, D. D. (2011). Cognitive neuroscience of self-regulation failure.Trends in cognitive sciences, 15(3), 132-139.
Heckman, J. J. (2007). The economics, technology, and neuroscience of human capability formation. Proceedings of the national Academy of Sciences, 104(33), 13250-13255.
Heckman, J. J., & Kautz, T. (2012). Hard evidence on soft skills. Labour economics, 19(4), 451-464.
Heckman, J., Pinto, R., & Savelyev, P. (2013). Understanding the mechanisms through which an influential early childhood program boosted adult outcomes. The American economic review, 103(6), 2052-2086.
Inkeles, A. (1966). Social structure and the socialization of competence. Harvard Educational Review, 36, 265–283.
Inkeles, A., & Smith, D. (1974). Becoming modern: Individual changes in six developing societies. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Ivcevic, Z., & Brackett, M. (2014). Predicting school success: Comparing conscientiousness, grit, and emotion regulation ability. Journal of Research in Personality, 52, 29-36.
Kirby, J. R., Knapper, C., Lamon, P., & Egnatoff, W. J. (2010). Development of a scale to measure lifelong learning. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 29(3), 291-302.
Kleitman, S., & Costa, D. S. (2014). The role of a novel formative assessment tool (Stats-mIQ) and individual differences in real-life academic performance. Learning and Individual Differences, 29, 150-161.
Lai, E. R. (2011). Metacognition: A literature review. Retrieved from: images.pearsonassessments.com/images/tmrs/Metacognition_Literature_Review_Final.pdf.
Levin, H. (2012). More than just test scores. Prospects, 42(3), 269-284.
Linn, R., & Miller, M. (2005). Measurement and assessment in teaching. Upper Saddle
River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Lipnevich, A., & Roberts, R. (2012). Noncognitive skills in education: Emerging research and applications in a variety of international contexts. Learning and Individual Differences. 22, 315-319.
Manitoba Education and Advanced Learning. (2015). Manitoba Provincial Report Card Policy and Guidelines. Retrieved from http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/assess/docs/report_card/full_doc.pdf.
Miller, T., Klinger, D., & Shulha, L. (2006). Behaviour assessment in Ontario mathematics classrooms. Educational Research and Reviews, 1(1), 1.
Mischel, W. (2014). Marshmallow Test. Random House.
Moffitt, T. E., Arseneault, L., Belsky, D., Dickson, N., Hancox, R. J., Harrington, H., Houts, R., Poulton, R., Roberts, B., Ross, S., Sears, M., Thomson, W., & Caspi, A. (2011). A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(7), 2693-2698.
Murnane, R. J., Willett, J. B., & Levy, F. (1995). The growing importance of cognitive skills in wage determination (No. w5076). National Bureau of Economic Research.
Newfoundland and Labrador. (N.D.). K-6 Report Cards: A guide for parents and guardians. Retrieved from https://www.nlesd.ca/families/k-6reportcard/doc/k6reportcardsupportdoc.pdf.
Northern Ireland Ministry of Education. (2007). Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities for Key Stage 3. Retrieved from http://www.nicurriculum.org.uk/docs/skills_and_capabilities/training/TSPC-Guidance-KS3.pdf
Osborne, K. (2000). Public schooling and citizenship education in Canada. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 32(1), 8.
Pintrich, P., & DeGroot, E. (1990). Motivational and self-regulated learning components of classroom academic performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 33-40.
Prince Edward Island English Language School Board. (2015). Operational Policy #407 - Assessing, Evaluating, Monitoring and Reporting Student Achievement. Retrieved from http://www.gov.pe.ca/edu/elsb/files/2015/09/407_Assessing_Evaluating_ Monitoring_and_Reporting_Student_Achievement.pdf
Prince Edward Island English Language School Board. (2014). Learning Skills and Work Habits: A guide for parents/guardians kindergarten to grade 9. Prince Edward Island English Language School Board.
Quebec Ministry of Education, Leisure and Sport. (N.D.). Cross Curricular Competencies. Retrieved from http://www1.mels.gouv.qc.ca/sections/programmeFormation/ secondaire2/medias/en/3_QEP_Chap03.pdf.
Quebec Ministry of Education, Leisure and Sport. (2011). Our School’s Choices in Light of the Provincial Report Card. Retrieved from https://www.mcgill.ca/isa/files/isa/mels_reportcards_2011.pdf.
Richardson, M., Abraham, C., & Bond, R. (2012). Psychological correlates of university students’ academic performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 138, 353-387.
Riveros, A., Norris, S. P., Hayward, D. V., & Phillips, L. M. (2012). Dispositions and the quality of learning. In J. R. Kirby & M. J. Lawson (Eds.), Enhancing the quality of learning: Dispositions, instruction and learning processes (pp. 32-50). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Rychen, D. S., & Salganik, L. H. (2000). Definition and selection of key competencies. THE INES COMPENDIUM ((Fourth General Assembly of the OECD Education Indicators programme). París: OCDE, 61-73. Retrieved from http://www.edu.u-szeged.hu/~csapo/publ/OECD_GA4.pdf#page=69.
Salgado, J. F., Moscoso, S., & Berges, A. (2013). Conscientiousness, its facets, and the prediction of job performance ratings: Evidence against the narrow measures. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 21(1), 74-84.
Saltman, K. J. (2015). Capitalizing on disaster: Taking and breaking public schools. Routledge.
Saskatchewan Ministry of Education. (2010). Cross-curricular competencies. Regina: Saskatchewan Education. Retrieved from https://www.edonline.sk.ca/bbcswebdav/library/curricula/English/Cross-curricular_Competencies_2010.pdf.
Singapore Ministry of Education. (2014). 2014 Syllabus: Character and Citizenship Education – Primary. Retrieved from https://www.moe.gov.sg/docs/default-source/document/education/syllabuses/character-citizenship-education/files/2014-character-citizenship-education-eng.pdf.
Stiggins, R. J. (2001). The unfulfilled promise of classroom assessment. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 20(3), 5-15.
Stroud, K. (2013). Methods of Assessing Learning and Study Strategies. In Saklofske, D. H., Schwean, V. L., & Reynolds, C. R. (eds.), The Oxford handbook of child psychological assessment (pp. 586-643). Oxford University Press.
Tangney, J. P., Baumeister, R. F., & Boone, A. L. (2004). High self‐control predicts good adjustment, less pathology, better grades, and interpersonal success. Journal of personality,72(2), 271-324.
UNESCO International Commission on Education for the 21st Century. (1996). Learning: The Treasure Within. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Volante, L., & Fazio, X. (2007). Exploring teacher candidates’ assessment literacy: Implications for teacher education reform and professional development. Canadian Journal of Education, 30(3), 749
Vignoles, A., De Coulon, A., & Marcenaro-Gutierrez, O. (2011). The value of basic skills in the British labour market. Oxford Economic Papers, 63: 27-48.
Winne, P. H. (2010). Improving measurements of self-regulated learning. Educational Psychologist, 45(4), 267-276.
Winne, P. H., & Perry, N. E. (2000). Measuring self-regulated learning. In Boekaerts, M., Pintrich, P. R., & Zeidner, M. (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation (pp. 531-565). Elsevier.
Zimmerman, B. J., & Kitsantas, A. (2014). Comparing students’ self-discipline and self-regulation measures and their prediction of academic achievement. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 39(2), 145-155.
Zimmerman, B. J., & Martinez-Pons, M. (1988). Construct validation of a strategy model of student self-regulated learning. Journal of educational psychology, 80(3), 284.
Zuffianò, A., Alessandri, G., Gerbino, M., Kanacri, B. P. L., Di Giunta, L., Milioni, M., & Caprara, G. V. (2013). Academic achievement: The unique contribution of self-efficacy beliefs in self-regulated learning beyond intelligence, personality traits, and self-esteem. Learning and Individual Differences, 23, 158-162.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
a. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
b. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
c. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.