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Missouri Public Education: Attendance Means Achievement

Angela Lee Duckworth, Ph.D, is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, but before she was a psychologist, Dr. Duckworth was a schoolteacher in New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago.

An Ivy League graduate, Dr. Duckworth had worked in education, management consulting, and the nonprofit sector before beginning to conduct the research that she’s now so known for — research which shows that “grit” is the key predictor of educational achievement.

Dr. Duckworth has researched students ranging from national spelling bee competitors to United States Military Academy cadets, and she has found the same results in each of her studies: “grit” is a stronger predictor of success and achievement than IQ score, talent, or passion.

What does Dr. Duckworth mean by “grit”? In her words, grit isn’t just being passionate — it requires sustaining that passion over a long period of time. It isn’t about short-term success or even about intelligence.

“Peak skill is achieved after years of deliberate practice,” says Dr. Duckworth in this TED Talk. “Most people don’t have the grit to sustain that deliberate practice, so they tend to peak early.”

Grit is defined by perseverance, tenacity, and doggedness. Grit means staying on a clear path to achieve long-term goals. Grit means consistently working towards long-term goals, year after year.

The grit of Missouri’s public education system is evident in its attendance policies, its graduation rates, and its steadily increasing student MAP scores .

Missouri’s public school system has shown marked improvement in elementary education scores for science, math, reading, and communication arts. Test scores show that our students are becoming increasingly successful in English, geometry, American history, and government. Four-year graduation rates are on the rise, as well.

Public Education in the state of Missouri is on a course of steady improvement, and as Dr. Duckworth says, “History and psychology tell us that changing our minds a lot is not a good way to get anywhere. We must stay on task.”

Now is not the time to reinvent the system. Now is the time to stay the course of public education in the state of Missouri.


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