NBER

Ron Diris

Naamsestraat 69 - Box 3565
3000 Leuven Belgium

E-Mail: ron.diris@kuleuven.be
Institutional Affiliation: Research Centre of Public Economics, KU Leuven,

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2014Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success
with Tim Kautz, James J. Heckman, Bas ter Weel, Lex Borghans: w20749
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 ...

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