109: 5 Non-Cognitive Factors Related to Academic Performance



  1. Academic Behaviors:
    • “good student” behaviors
    • examples: high attendance, coming prepared to class, staying on task, completing homework, etc.
    • important for achievement
    • all other non-cognitive factors work through academic behaviors to get results
  2. Academic Perseverance:
    • completing academic tasks on task to best of one’s ability despite challenges
    • related attitudes: grit, persistence, delayed gratification, self discipline, self control
  3. Academic Mindsets:
    • beliefs that relate to academic work
    • 4 key examples:
      1. I belong in this academic community
        • relates to idea that learning is a social activity
        • feeling of belonging to a learning community improves student performance
      2. My ability and competence grow with effort
        • growth mindset
      3. I can succeed at this
        • people tend to embrace things they think they can do and avoid things they believe they can’t
      4. This work has value for me
        • attainment value: doing well on a task
        • intrinsic value: gaining enjoyment on task
        • utility value: task serves an important purpose
  4. Learning Strategies:
    • strategies that enhance thinking
    • examples:  strategies for …
      • better recall
      • monitoring comprehension
      • self correcting
      • goal setting
      • time management
  5. Social skills:
    • examples: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy
    • behaviors that improve social interactions
Their model of how these 5 factor relate to academic behavior is shown below:




  • Interesting features of the model:
    • academic mindsets can give rise to social skills, academic behaviors, academic perseverance, and learning strategies
    • academic mindsets, social skills, academic perseverance, and learning strategies use academic behaviors as a vehicle for achieving academic performance
    • using learning strategies can lead to more academic perseverance and more academic behaviors that lead to academic performance
    • academic performance can influence academic mindsets


Knowing the research-backed factors that improve academic performance can help teachers plan classroom management systems that build the skills, mindsets, and attitudes that support academic success.  Having a model for how these factors interact can help one understand how focusing on one factor can influence the other factors.


Preparation Steps
  • Conduct more research on factors related to academic success.  See Agency articles and hyperlinked articles above for ideas.
  • Create character learning targets based on key features of 5 non cognitive factors listed above
  • Research strategies and activities that can be implemented to reach character learning targets related to 5 non cognitive factors
Early Implementation Steps
  • Throughout the year, facilitate activities and strategies that help students reach character learning targets
  • Use formative assessments and related reflections related to Agency rubric to see if activities and strategies are improving students’ agency
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Use student reflections and assessment results to identify most effective strategies.  Incorporate these into classroom routines.
  • Use model (see graphic above) to help students see and reflect upon the connections between skills, attitudes, behaviors and performance

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