Category Archives: Grit

Students Who Turn in Work at the Last Minute Get Worse Grades

Turns out there’s a cost to procrastinating

Procrastinators, you’ve been warned — a new study suggests that students who turn in homework at the last minute get worse grades.

Two professors at the Warwick Business School in the United Kingdom report that submitting assignments just before they’re due corresponded with, at worst, a five-percent drop in grades.

Researchers David Arnott and Scott Dacko looked at the final assignments from 504 first-year students and 273 third-year students in marketing classes in the U.K., where papers are graded by marks out of 100.

Of the 777 students involved, 86.1 percent waited until the last 24 hours to turn in work, earning an average score of 64.04, compared to early submitters’ average of 64.32 — roughly equivalent to a ‘B’ grade.

But the average score for the most part continued to drop by the hour, and those who turned in the assignment at the last minute had the lowest average grade of around 59, or around a C+.

The researchers, who presented the paper at the European Marketing Academy conference, hope their data could lead more schools to identify chronic procrastinators early, in hopes of intervening and providing support and resources for breaking the habit.

Nolan Feeney in TIME Sept. 14, 2014  –   @NolanFeeney

Is this permissible? In Bernalillo County high schools? [Video]

Do you ever look around the place you live and get totally bummed out by all the pollution?

Well, that’s what was happening to Elif. So she said: “Oh I know, I’ll just invent a more eco-friendly way to make plastic! It’s not like I’m just a teenager who’s still in high school or anything.”

Just click  here  to see this very cool 2:29 video.

How can we support more of this kind of inventiveness and inquiry in our local high-schools?


How to turn a (huge) problem into a solution

How to turn a (huge) problem into a solution

A cool example of how to turn a problem into a solution – there is so much good stuff here to explore and appreciate

–  18-year old Boyan Slat spends a half a year studying  plastic pollution and how to use the power of nature to clean itself up

–  the young simply aren’t smart enough nor have sufficient experience to appreciate why certain things cannot be done or certain problems are beyond solving

–  click through the website and enjoy the crisp, clarity of its design/functionality

–  also notice how clear, crisp and understandable the problem and concept  (solution) statements are

Then, consider how some of these concepts might be turned to advantage in viewing and languaging other “problems” in New Mexico that might benefit from this kind of thinking   —  water, education achievement gaps, fracking, homelessness, family poverty, family violence, fill-in-the-blank.

Just let this website wash over you and allow your mind to ponder.




Question for a kid in school – video – 3:10

This little 3:10 video asks a question in an ‘in-your-face’ way.

Then goes on to answer it.

Then goes on to say why really matters.

Enjoy ~

One key difference between kids who excel at math and those who don’t

Great article from Quartz Daily News –                   [Read the whole article here.]

“I’m just not a math person.”

We hear it all the time. And we’ve had enough. Because we believe that the idea of “math people” is the most self-destructive idea in America today. The truth is, you probably are a math person, and by thinking otherwise, you are possibly hamstringing your own career. Worse, you may be helping to perpetuate a pernicious myth that is harming underprivileged children—the myth of inborn genetic math ability.

Here are some summary points:

For high school math, inborn talent is just much less important than hard work, preparation, and self-confidence.

Again and again, we have seen the following pattern repeat itself:

  1. Different kids with different levels of preparation come into a math class. Some of these kids have parents who have drilled them on math from a young age, while others never had that kind of parental input.
  2. On the first few tests, the well-prepared kids get perfect scores, while the unprepared kids get only what they could figure out by winging it—maybe 80 or 85%, a solid B.
  3. The unprepared kids, not realizing that the top scorers were well-prepared, assume that genetic ability was what determined the performance differences. Deciding that they “just aren’t math people,” they don’t try hard in future classes, and fall further behind.
  4. The well-prepared kids, not realizing that the B students were simply unprepared, assume that they are “math people,” and work hard in the future, cementing their advantage.

Thus, people’s belief that math ability can’t change becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The idea that math ability is mostly genetic is one dark facet of a larger fallacy that intelligence is mostly genetic. Academic psychology journals are well stocked with papers studying the world view that lies behind the kind of self-fulfilling prophecy we just described.

Convincing students that they could make themselves smarter by hard work led them to work harder and get higher grades. The intervention had the biggest effect for students who started out believing intelligence was genetic. (A control group, who were taught how memory works, showed no such gains.)

But improving grades was not the most dramatic effect, “Dweck reported that some of her tough junior high school boys were reduced to tears by the news that their intelligence was substantially under their control.” It is no picnic going through life believing you were born dumb—and are doomed to stay that way.

While American fourth and eighth graders score quite well in international math comparisons—beating countries like Germany, the UK and Sweden—our high-schoolers  underperform those countries by a wide margin. This suggests that Americans’ native ability is just as good as anyone’s, but that we fail to capitalize on that ability through hard work. In response to the lackluster high school math performance, some influential voices in American education policy have suggested simply teaching less math—for example, Andrew Hacker has called for algebra to no longer be a requirement. The subtext, of course, is that large numbers of American kids are simply not born with the ability to solve for x.

One way to help Americans excel at math is to copy the approach of the Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans.  In Intelligence and How to Get It, Nisbett describes how the educational systems of East Asian countries focus more on hard work than on inborn talent:

1. “Children in Japan go to school about 240 days a year, whereas children in the United States go to school about 180 days a year.”

2. “Japanese high school students of the 1980s studied 3 ½ hours a day, and that number is likely to be, if anything, higher today.”
3. “[The inhabitants of Japan and Korea] do not need to read this book to find out that intelligence and intellectual accomplishment are highly malleable. Confucius set that matter straight twenty-five hundred years ago.”
4. “When they do badly at something, [Japanese, Koreans, etc.] respond by working harder at it.”
5. “Persistence in the face of failure is very much part of the Asian tradition of self-improvement. And [people in those countries] are accustomed to criticism in the service of self-improvement in situations where Westerners avoid it or resent it.”

Besides cribbing a few tricks from the Japanese, we also have at least one American-style idea for making kids smarter: treat people who work hard at learning as heroes and role models. We already venerate sports heroes who make up for lack of talent through persistence and grit; why should our educational culture be any different?

Math education, we believe, is just the most glaring area of a slow and worrying shift. We see our country moving away from a culture of hard work toward a culture of belief in genetic determinism. In the debate between “nature vs. nurture,” a critical third element—personal perseverance and effort—seems to have been sidelined. We want to bring it back, and we think that math is the best place to start.

Read the whole article here.

Follow Miles on Twitter at @mileskimball. Follow Noah at @noahpinionWe welcome your comments at

An ‘A’ for Job Readiness?

From Melissa Korn, At Work Blog,

“Nearly 80% of current college students say they’re “very” or “completely” prepared to put their organization skills to work, while just 54% of hiring managers who’ve interviewed recent grads would agree, according to a survey of 2,000 U.S. college students and 1,000 hiring managers, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of education company Chegg.

Students overestimate their abilities by at least 10 percentage points on each of the 11 criteria measured in the survey, according to the findings.”

From the study:

Assessment characteristic

Students view

Recruiters’ view

Making decisions without all the facts



Ability to communicate with bosses and clients



The study also found that collaboration, managing up (i.e., managing your manager(s)), making persuasive arguments, and critical thinking in general, were unprepared for. The feeling that more hands-on and applied learning would be supportive to both students and employers.

Methinks starting more ‘hands-on and applied learning’ in middle- and high-school would also be supportive.

The 6 killer apps of prosperity – 2011 TED Talk

The world is constantly changing, only now it’s changing ever more rapidly. This 21 minute talk can give you an idea as to how you, your children and grandchildren may be affected. Here’s a summary from the TED Talk page:

“Over the past few centuries, Western cultures have been very good at creating general prosperity for themselves. Historian Niall Ferguson asks: Why the West, and less so the rest? He suggests half a dozen big ideas from Western culture — call them the 6 killer apps — that promote wealth, stability and innovation. And in this new century, he says, these apps are all shareable.  (My underlining)

History is a curious thing, and Niall Ferguson investigates not only what happened but why. (Hint: Politics and money explain a lot.)”

View the talk here.

This talk has been viewed 993,860 times.