The Value of Student NonCognitive Measures

A recent article came out in The Chronicle, called “Noncognitive Measures: The Next Frontier in College Admissions”.  The article describes how schools have long time relied strictly upon academic measures such as GPA, ACT, and SAT scores.  Most colleges agree that academic achievement is a strong indicator of college success.  However, they have done little to explain or research why all students with high GPAs and ACT scores don’t all succeed academically in college.

Learning is a continual process that should evolve through evaluation and examination of new ideologies, technologies, and cultures.  Have educational institutions become victims of their own beliefs that rely solely on cognitive skills and give little to no validation of the impact noncognitive skills have on an individual’s ability to succeed?  Perhaps.  In the article, a paper is referenced “We Feel, Therefore We Learn: the Relevance of Affective and Social Neuroscience to Education,” which describes a simple conclusion: Logical-reasoning skills and factual knowledge are only so valuable on their own. Students also need an “emotional rudder”–an ability to transfer skills and knowledge to real-world situations–to succeed.

Admissions counselors, on the front line, perhaps experience the most frustration when it comes to devaluing noncognitive skills.  After spending some time with a potential student, an experienced admissions counselor can not only approximate an ACT and/or GPA but also estimate service hours, discover interests, personality traits, and personal grit. Translation…ability to get the job done regardless of circumstances, academic knowledge, or finances.  Unfortunately admissions counselors are usually required to base admission and in some cases scholarship dollars, to those who look good on paper.

We, SmarterServices, could not agree more with the movement to recognize the value and insight a student’s noncognitive skills can have on their ability to succeed academically.  That is why we have been measuring noncognitive skills through our assessment, SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Indicator for the past decade.  To learn more about how to measure non-cognitive skills, contact oursales team today!