Relationship Between Noncognitive Skills and Mathematics Achievement
Despite ongoing efforts to improve curriculum and instruction, students at an urban high school in New Jersey score low on the mathematics achievement components of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam. Guided by Bandura's social cognitive theory, the purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate the relationship between students' noncognitive skills and their mathematics achievement. Students who were enrolled in the local high school in the 2017-18 school year and had completed the geometry component of the PARCC exam in 2016-17 were invited to participate in this study. In this cross-sectional survey design, 97 students completed 3 self-report noncognitive skills surveys measuring their mindset, grit, and self-control. Each noncognitive skill score was correlated with the students' mathematics achievement as measured by their 2016-17 geometry PARCC exam score. Pearson correlation analysis indicated no significant correlations between each of the 3 noncognitive skills and mathematics achievement. While some prior research suggested that developing noncognitive skills can be a basis for effective interventions, these results do not support that approach. Given that there was no significant relationship between noncognitive skills and mathematics achievement in this sample, a prudent next step seemed to be recommending an individualized instructional approach to working with students as a means for addressing mathematics skills. Thus, a policy recommendation was developed to promote a comprehensive and evaluative approach to instructional decision-making that can be individualized for each student. By adopting instructional practices that individualize decision-making for each student's needs, positive social change is likely to occur as students' mathematics achievement may increase over time.