Can Grit Be Taught? Lessons from a Nationwide Field Experiment with Middle-School Students

89 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2022

See all articles by Indhira Santos

Indhira Santos

World Bank

Violeta Petroska-Beska

Ss. Cyril and Methodius University

Pedro Manuel Carneiro

University College London - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Lauren Eskreis-Winkler

Northwestern University

Ana Maria Boudet

World Bank

Maria Ines Berniell

European University Institute

Christian Krekel

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics

Omar Arias

World Bank

Angela Duckworth

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Psychology

Abstract

We study whether a particular socio-emotional skill – grit (the ability to sustain effort and interest towards long-term goals) – can be cultivated through a large-scale program, and how this affects student learning. Using a randomized control trial, we evaluate the first nationwide implementation of a low-cost intervention designed to foster grit and self regulation among sixth and seventh-grade students in primary schools in North Macedonia (about 33,000 students across 350 schools). The results of this interventions are mixed. Exposed students report improvements in self-regulation, in particular the perseverance-of effort facet of grit, relative to students in a control condition. Impacts on students are larger when both students and teachers are exposed to the curriculum than when only students are treated. For disadvantaged students, we also find positive impacts on grade point averages, with gains of up to 28 percent of a standard deviation one year post-treatment. However, while this intervention made students more perseverant and industrious, it reduced the consistency-of-interest facet of grit. This means that exposed students are less able to maintain consistent interests for long periods.

Keywords: socio-emotional skills, grit, gpas, middle-school students, fieldexperiment, RCT

JEL Classification: C93, D91, I20, I24

Suggested Citation

Santos, Indhira and Petroska-Beska, Violeta and Carneiro, Pedro Manuel and Eskreis-Winkler, Lauren and Boudet, Ana Maria and Berniell, Maria Ines and Krekel, Christian and Arias, Omar and Duckworth, Angela, Can Grit Be Taught? Lessons from a Nationwide Field Experiment with Middle-School Students. IZA Discussion Paper No. 15588, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4233803 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4233803

Indhira Santos (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Violeta Petroska-Beska

Ss. Cyril and Methodius University

blvd. Goce Delcev 9
Skopje, 1000
Macedonia

Pedro Manuel Carneiro

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Lauren Eskreis-Winkler

Northwestern University

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Ana Maria Boudet

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Maria Ines Berniell

European University Institute

Villa Schifanoia
133 via Bocaccio
Firenze (Florence), 50014
Italy

Christian Krekel

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics

Omar Arias

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Angela Duckworth

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Psychology ( email )

3815 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6196
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
62
Abstract Views
548
rank
500,084
PlumX Metrics