Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Fostering and Measuring Skills: Interventions That Improve Character and Cognition

Contents:

Author Info

  • Heckman, James J.

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

  • Kautz, Tim

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

This paper reviews the recent literature on measuring and boosting cognitive and noncognitive skills. The literature establishes that achievement tests do not adequately capture character skills – personality traits, goals, motivations, and preferences that are valued in the labor market, in school, and in many other domains. Their predictive power rivals that of cognitive skills. Reliable measures of character have been developed. All measures of character and cognition are measures of performance on some task. In order to reliably estimate skills from tasks, it is necessary to standardize for incentives, effort, and other skills when measuring any particular skill. Character is a skill, not a trait. At any age, character skills are stable across different tasks, but skills can change over the life cycle. Character is shaped by families, schools, and social environments. Skill development is a dynamic process, in which the early years lay the foundation for successful investment in later years. High-quality early childhood and elementary school programs improve character skills in a lasting and cost-effective way. Many of them beneficially affect later-life outcomes without improving cognition. There are fewer long-term evaluations of adolescent interventions, but workplace-based programs that teach character skills are promising. The common feature of successful interventions across all stages of the life cycle through adulthood is that they promote attachment and provide a secure base for exploration and learning for the child. Successful interventions emulate the mentoring environments offered by successful families.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp7750.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7750.

as in new window
Length: 125 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: J. Heckman, J.E. Humphries, and T. Kautz (eds.), The Myth of Achievement Tests: The GED and the Role of Character in American Life, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7750

Contact details of provider:
Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org

Order Information:
Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Email:

Related research

Keywords: interventions; skill development; achievement tests; character;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 12840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. A. J. Reynolds & J. A. Temple, . "Extended early childhood intervention and school achievement: Age 13 findings from the Chicago longitudinal study," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1095-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  3. James J. Heckman, 2008. "Schools, Skills, and Synapses," Working Papers 200833, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  4. Núria Rodriguez-Planas, 2010. "Mentoring, Educational Services, and Economic Incentives Longer-term Evidence on Risky Behaviors from a Randomized Trial," Working Papers 462, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  5. Hansen, Karsten T & Heckman, James J & Mullen, Kathleen J, 2003. "The effect of schooling and ability on achievement test scores," Working Paper Series 2003:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  6. James Heckman & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter Savelyev, 2013. "Understanding the Mechanisms through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2052-86, October.
  7. Jean-Marc Robin & Costas Meghir & Christian Dustmann & Jerome Adda, 2013. "Career Progression, Economic Downturns, and Skills," 2013 Meeting Papers 993, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
  9. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Eric A. Hanushek, 2003. "The Failure of Input-Based Schooling Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F64-F98, February.
  11. Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H.H. & Heckman, James J. & Humphries, John Eric, 2011. "Identification Problems in Personality Psychology," IZA Discussion Papers 5605, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. James J. Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2009. "The Rate of Return to the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program," NBER Working Papers 15471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Borghans, Lex & Meijers, Huub & ter Weel, Bas, 2006. "The Role of Noncognitive Skills in Explaining Cognitive Test Scores," IZA Discussion Papers 2429, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Lex Borghans & Bart H.H. Golsteyn & James J. Heckman & Huub Meijers, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity," Working Papers 200903, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  15. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Schennach, Susanne, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 4702, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Stasz, Cathleen, 2001. "Assessing Skills for Work: Two Perspectives," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 385-405, July.
  17. Charles Mallar & Stuart Kerachsky & Craig Thornton & David Long., 1982. "Evaluation of the Impact of the Job Corps Program: Third Follow-Up Report," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 2737, Mathematica Policy Research.
  18. Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Economic Considerations and Class Size," NBER Working Papers 8875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Christina Clark Tuttle & Bing-ru Teh & Ira Nichols-Barrer & Brian P. Gill & Philip Gleason, 2010. "Student Characteristics and Achievement in 22 KIPP Middle Schools," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 6673, Mathematica Policy Research.
  20. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  21. Carneiro, Pedro & Ginja, Rita, 2012. "Long Term Impacts of Compensatory Preschool on Health and Behavior: Evidence from Head Start," Working Paper Series 2012:5, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  22. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Nathaniel Hilger & Emmanuel Saez & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach & Danny Yagan, 2011. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence from Project Star," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1593-1660.
  23. James J. Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2010. "Analyzing Social Experiments as Implemented: A Reexamination of the Evidence From the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," Working Papers 201034, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  24. Becker Anke & Deckers Thomas & Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin & Kosse Fabian, 2012. "The Relationship Between Economic Preferences and Psychological Personality Measures," Research Memorandum 048, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  25. Peter Z. Schochet & John Burghardt & Sheena McConnell, 2008. "Does Job Corps Work? Impact Findings from the National Job Corps Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1864-86, December.
  26. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2012. "Non-Cognitive Ability, Test Scores, and Teacher Quality: Evidence from 9th Grade Teachers in North Carolina," NBER Working Papers 18624, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Tore Olsen & Luigi Pistaferri, 2009. "Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Micro vs. Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Danish Tax Records," NBER Working Papers 15617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Peter Z. Schochet & John Burghardt & Steven Glazerman, 2001. "National Job Corps Study: The Impacts of Job Corps on Participants' Employment and Related Outcomes," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 2951, Mathematica Policy Research.
  29. Peter Gottschalk, 2005. "Can work alter welfare recipients' beliefs?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(3), pages 485-498.
  30. J. Bradford DeLong & Konstantin Magin, 2009. "The U.S. Equity Return Premium: Past, Present, and Future," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 193-208, Winter.
  31. Cooke, L. P., 2003. "A comparison of initial and early life course earnings of the German secondary education and training system," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 79-88, February.
  32. Harhoff, Dietmar & Kane, Thomas J., 1995. "Is the German apprenticeship system a panacea for the US labour market?," ZEW Discussion Papers 95-19, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  33. Steven Glazerman & Allison Seifullah, 2012. "An Evaluation of the Chicago Teacher Advancement Program (Chicago TAP) After Four Years," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 7391, Mathematica Policy Research.
  34. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
  35. Heckman, James J. & Masterov, Dimitriy V., 2007. "The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children," IZA Discussion Papers 2725, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  36. Carmit Segal, 2006. "Motivation, test scores and economic success," Economics Working Papers 1124, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2008.
  37. James J. Heckman & John Eric Humphries & Sergio Urzua & Gregory Veramendi, 2010. "The effects of educational choices on labor market, health, and social outcomes," Working Papers 2011-002, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  38. Regula Geel & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2009. "Occupational Mobility Within and Between Skill Clusters: An Empirical Analysis Based on the Skill-Weights Approach," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0047, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  39. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2009. "The Economics and Psychology of Inequality and Human Development," NBER Working Papers 14695, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  40. Groot, Wim, 2000. "Adaptation and scale of reference bias in self-assessments of quality of life," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 403-420, May.
  41. Wolter, Stefan C. & Ryan, Paul, 2011. "Apprenticeship," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  42. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  43. Sara Mclanahan, 2004. "Diverging destinies: How children are faring under the second demographic transition," Demography, Springer, vol. 41(4), pages 607-627, November.
  44. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2009. "The Economics & Psychology of Inequality and Human Development," Working Papers 200905, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  45. David Deming, 2009. "Early Childhood Intervention and Life-Cycle Skill Development: Evidence from Head Start," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 111-34, July.
  46. Núria Rodríguez-Planas, 2012. "Longer-Term Impacts of Mentoring, Educational Services, and Learning Incentives: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in the United States," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 121-39, October.
  47. Martins, Pedro S., 2010. "Can Targeted, Non-Cognitive Skills Programs Improve Achievement? Evidence from EPIS," IZA Discussion Papers 5266, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  48. Nyhus, Ellen K. & Pons, Empar, 2005. "The effects of personality on earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 363-384, June.
  49. Rainer Winkelmann, 1996. "Employment prospects and skill acquisition of apprenticeship-trained workers in Germany," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(4), pages 658-672, July.
  50. Temple, Judy A. & Reynolds, Arthur J., 2007. "Benefits and costs of investments in preschool education: Evidence from the Child-Parent Centers and related programs," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 126-144, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Spermann, Alexander, 2014. "Using Online Platforms for Competence Tests: A Component of the Demographic Policy of Germany," IZA Policy Papers 83, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Spermann, Alexander, 2014. "Online-Portale für Kompetenztests – ein Baustein für die Demografiestrategie Deutschlands," IZA Standpunkte 67, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Janssens, Wendy & Rosemberg, Cristina, 2014. "The impact of a Caribbean home-visiting child development program on cognitive skills," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 22-37.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7750. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.