Experts Begin to Identify Nonacademic Skills Key to Success is the headline of a recent story in Ed Week. It discusses research that is finding non-academic skills are important keys to student success in college and in their careers. Here’s an excerpt:

Across education and industry, research by Mr. Sackett; Neal Schmitt, a psychology professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing; and others shows the biggest predictor of success is a student’s conscientiousness, as measured by such traits as dependability, perseverance through tasks, and work ethic. Agreeableness, including teamwork, and emotional stability were the next-best predictors of college achievement, followed by variations on extroversion and openness to new experiences, Mr. Sackett found. “If you take a close look at these commercial tests [given during job interviews], they are compound traits of the top three traits” predicting post-high school success, he said.

Interestingly enough, this is the focus of my upcoming third book (now, tentatively titled “Student Self-Motivation”) that will be published by Eye On Education in May. In it, I provide practical ideas and lessons for the classroom on how to help students learn these kinds of skills in a way that connects with academic content knowledge.

I don’t think it has to be approached from an either/or perspective.

You can get a “peek” at what I’m talking about by viewing some of my previous “The Best…” lists, including:

My Best Posts On “Motivating” Students

My Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control

My Best Posts On Students Setting Goals

I did, though, get a bit concerned after reading another section of the article:

Roger P. Weissberg, a psychology and education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the director of the university’s Social and Emotional Research Group is building “common-core standards for social-emotional learning,” while Steve Robbins, the vice president for research at ACT Inc., said the Iowa City, Iowa-based testing company is integrating academic achievement, behavior, and career planning into its K-12 programs.

When I start reading about creating “common-core standards” for these qualities, and hear that a testing company is starting to get involved, warning lights start to flash in my head… However, that reaction might be unfair, so I’ll reserve judgement until I see what they come up with.