True Grit

I was first introduced to the Grit Scale and the research behind it through a September 2011 article in the NYTimes titled What if the Secret to Success is Failure? Little did I know, but I have been a model subject for Dr. Angela Duckworth’s research for as long as I can remember. Dr. Duckworth, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, centers her research on the personality trait, ‘grit’. Grit is “a positive, non-cognitive trait, based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective”.

We began to explore Dr. Duckworth’s work as a metric to measure the effectiveness of each of our SITE (Summer Institute for Technology and Engineering) programs. The plan was to administer the 12-item metric (http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~duckwort/images/12-item%20Grit%20Scale.05312011.pdf) to each student before and after the program to determine whether or not participants had grown to develop more perseverance, hardiness, resilience, and ambition. By slightly modifying the questions, we could predict the levels of success that our students could reach through their academic and scientific pursuits.

This predictive analysis of our students’ future potential caused me to ponder how our organization would fare if fed through a similar metric. The results produced the following for ambition, 4.6 (extremely ambitions) and grit, 4.75 (extremely gritty). But what does this all mean? How does the Grit Scale reflect ELiTE’s work to date and plans for the future? A deeper analysis into our history sheds light on these topics.  Stay tuned for a post titled “CHAPTER FOUR”, an in-depth look back into our history and the inspiration that helped shape the organization that exists today.

-Chelsey Roebuck

Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magazine/what-if-the-secret-to-success-is-failure.html?pagewanted=all

Duckworth Faculty Page: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~duckwort/

Grit Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grit_(personality_trait)

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