A recent study examining factors contributing to black male graduation rates asserts that a major factor in their academic success is grit.

The study defines grit as “a strong dedication to pursuing and achieving a goal, whatever the obstacles and failures along the way.”

The report, authored by Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, finds that grit impacts academic success just as much as grades, talents, or SAT scores.

He argues that these are not fixed traits; the self-confidence, perseverance, and self-efficacy one possesses can and should be nurtured and affirmed.

From Diverse Education:

“About 2009, people started saying there are certain groups that face challenges and barriers in college that require them to have other skills and abilities to succeed that have nothing to do with their grades or their confidence,” said Strayhorn, an associate professor of higher education in the School of Education Policy and Leadership within the College of Education and Human Ecology at the Ohio State University. “I think it’s pretty jarring that my hypothesis was correct. Even when you take Black men in college who have similar GPAs in high school and similar test scores, those who are grittier — who persevere despite setbacks and pursue their own goals despite barriers — are more likely to succeed.”

A survey to students in the study of grit asked students about their lives, academic history and included the grit scale, which looks at things such as student self-efficacy, self-esteem, academic achievement and whether a subject feels like they have control over an outcome in his or her life. In reporting their grit level, students were asked to answer things such as: “I finish whatever I begin” and “I have overcome setbacks.”

In the article, Strayhorn says he found that grit, as well as background traits and academic factors explain nearly a quarter of the difference in grades received by Black male students in college. That’s a good thing, he said.

“You can teach people how to be gritty,” he said. “These are not fixed traits in individuals. You can nurture someone’s perseverance, giving way for workshops and programs … teaching students to hang in there, even when they face setbacks and failures.”

Read more at DiverseEducation.com


Thought’s on Dr. Strayhorn’s findings?

Is there something to this study?

How can we do a better job of instilling “grit” in our young people?

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