Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occur when you’re climbing it.
— Andy Rooney

Source: NPR
Title: Is "Grit" doomed to be the new self-esteem?

March 2016

The Nation's Report Card will be asking questions like this next year; so will the international PISA test. 

In just a few short weeks, students in California will be taking high-stakes tests. But the tests won't just cover math, reading and science. Students will also be responding to survey statements like "I usually finish what I start," or "I can do anything if I try."

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Publication: Psychology Today
Title: Declining Student Resilience: A Serious Problem for Colleges

Sept. 2015

College personnel everywhere are struggling with students' increased neediness.

A year ago I received an invitation from the head of Counseling Services at a major university to join faculty and administrators for discussions about how to deal with the decline in resilience among students. At the first meeting, we learned that emergency calls to Counseling had more than doubled over the past five years. Students are increasingly seeking help for, and apparently having emotional crises over, problems of everyday life.

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Publication: Fast Company
Title: Use These Two Words On Your College Essay To Get Into Harvard

August 2015

AdmitSee crunched the data in 15,000 essays from the admissions files of successful college applicants. The findings are fascinating.

Getting into an elite college has never been more cutthroat. Last year, Harvard's admissions rate dipped to a record low, with only 5.3% of applicants getting an acceptance letter. Stanford's rate was even lower at 5.05%.

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Study: GRIT and Student Success 

May 2015


This study explores the role the various dimensions of GRIT play in a variety of student success factors including goal magnitude, goal completion, difficult of academic major/track, health, energy, and the degree of extracurricular obligation a student chooses to accept.

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Study: An exploratory comparative analysis of the GRIT Gauge and the Duckworth Scale in student and employee samples

May 2015


Both the GRIT Gauge and the Duckworth Scale have been validated as predictors of specific facets of success.  This study offers the first-ever, preliminary and exploratory side-by-side statistical comparison of these two constructs among two groups: students (S) and employees (E).

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Publication: E-Campus News; Pearson Education
Title: Could GRIT be a trend that sticks in higher-ed?

May 2015

A new partnership focuses on teaching students to improve their GRIT in order to help them accomplish their goals.

Recently, the idea of GRIT, or Growth, Resilience, Instinct and Tenacity, is increasingly seen by educators and even the Obama Administration  as a key to success in higher education.  Building on the blooming popularity of GRIT in higher-ed, Pearson Education has recently partnered with PEAK Learning in order to infuse their MyCareerSuccessLab service with the means assess a student’s GRIT.

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Publication: AMA Quarterly
Title: GRIT it Up!

Spring 2015

How do you lead your people to bust through the crud and get more of the important stuff done, and done well, when the entire world is conspiring against that happening?

Ultimately, there's only one way to get there. You have to tap into your GRIT—your capacity to dig deep and do whatever it takes to achieve your most important, long-term goals—and lead in an entirely new way.

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Researcher: Dr. Lee Ann Nutt
Study: Expanding the Completion Agenda to Include GRIT and Growth Mindset

April 2015

There is good news, and there is bad news. The good news: more students than ever are choosing to start college, and more than half of all undergraduate students in the United States enroll in community colleges; in fact, in Texas, 79 out of every 100 students in public higher education choose a two-year college. The bad news: only two of those 79 will complete a degree or certificate within two years. And since by 2020, 60 percent of all jobs will require at least a certificate or college degree, this bad news is particularly troubling. As a result, foundations, grant funders, and community colleges have responded to the need to get more students to graduate in a nation-wide effort labeled the Completion Agenda. 

The next question became this one: “How do we involve students in the Completion Agenda?” I am convinced that the answer is grit and growth mindset.

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Researcher: Scott Swaaley
Study: Developing GRIT

Sept. 16, 2013

Multiple quantitative and qualitative metrics agree that in just four months, students have significantly increased their GRIT. This study details the characteristics of the GRIT Lab program.

High Tech High is a San Diego based charter high school that bases its curriculum around project based learning and other constructivist practices. Its 599 students admitted through a zip-code-based lottery system to maintain a student body that mirrors the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of the local community. All High Tech High classrooms are full-inclusion meaning that students of all ability levels learn together - including high performing students and students with disabilities. Ninth grade students attend three year-long courses: Mathematics, Humanities, and Physics & Engineering. The Humanities and Physics & Engineering courses are integrated into a cohesive interdisciplinary teaching team and are the core of the ninth grade experience. My teaching team is composed of sixty two students, each half of which I see for two periods per day.

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Publication: Discover
Title: Grandma's Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes

May 2013

Your ancestors' lousy childhoods or excellent adventures might change your personality, bequeathing anxiety or resilience by altering the epigenetic expressions of genes in the brain

Darwin and Freud walk into a bar. Two alcoholic mice — a mother and her son — sit on two bar stools, lapping gin from two thimbles.

The mother mouse looks up and says, “Hey, geniuses, tell me how my son got into this sorry state.”

“Bad inheritance,” says Darwin.

“Bad mothering,” says Freud

For over a hundred years, those two views — nature or nurture, biology or psychology — offered opposing explanations for how behaviors develop and persist, not only within a single individual but across generations.

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