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July 22, 2013

True grit: principal champions new assessment

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

In still another study, of Ivy League college students, Duckworth found the grittiest students, not the smartest ones, had the highest GPAs.

Rent wants to use the Grit Scale test in the way that all good assessment tests should be: as a way to measure where students are, so you can help them get to where they need to be. It means tutoring a kid in perseverance becomes as important as a tutoring a kid in math.

Here’s another measure that Rent wants to add this year at his school. In addition tracking a student’s GPA — the grade-point average — Rent wants to start tracking a student’s CPA: a character-point average.

The CPA is still a work in progress, Rent said, but initially it will be based on a student’s attendance and tardiness record, the number of disciplinary referrals from teachers, and the student’s GPA.

These aren’t novel ideas. They’re already being implemented by some charter high schools in other states, tracking progress of their graduates who are at-risk for dropping out of college. Guess what they found out? The students who stayed in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically in high school; they were the ones who had persistence, optimism, and social intelligence. They may have failed a test or even a course, but they knew how to bounce back.

They had character and grit. 

— Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com 

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