Grit is a personality trait, not a skill to be taught, argues Brookings’ Russ Whitehurst in a review of new research. Basically, “grit is just conscientiousness,” he concludes.
(Schools) should encourage and reward students for persistence and hard work rather than trying to increase their grit. And instead of trying to impact students’ conscientiousness, they should provide task-specific training on how to manage time and complete assignments, and meaningful consequences for doing so.
Grit primarily is inherited, not created by family or school environments, according to twin studies, writes Whitehurst.
Furthermore, many factors, such as study skills, test anxiety, and learning strategies, have more influence on achievement scores than grit.
Employers say the number one skill that leads to success is conscientiousness.
Grit has many earmarks of a fad, writes Jay Greene, but character skills aren’t chopped liver.
Grit and other character skills may not strongly predict achievement test results, but they do predict life outcomes, such as “educational attainment, employment, and earnings . . . even after cognitive ability and other factors are controlled,” writes Greene. And there’s evidence that character skills are malleable.