Giving Compass' Take:

• Stanford Social Innovation Review explores how a wave of noncognitive skill initiatives holds promise for making teachers more effective and students more successful.

• These skills — such as self-control, persistence and awareness — are closely tied to social and emotional learning (SEL). Are we devoting enough resources to programs that cultivate such competencies?

• Here's how wordless videos are changing SEL approaches in schools.

Twenty years ago, conventional wisdom held that cognitive ability displayed by mastery of core academic subjects paved the way to student success in school, career, and life. Today, we know better.

If the pressure to improve student outcomes has never been greater, the prospects for funders to help scale noncognitive competencies across school districts — in school and after school — have never been brighter.

Student success comes when cognitive skills work in tandem with so-called soft skills like self-control, persistence, and self-awareness. Therefore, practitioners and researchers typically frame their discussions of these characteristics around either social and emotional skills, or academic attitudes and behaviors.

They share a common destination: developing students whose mastery of noncognitive skills, strategies, attitudes, mindsets, and behaviors enhances their academic and life success. We call such students “effective learners.”

Some initiatives are primarily in service of developing students’ social and emotional competence, while others aim to build academic mindsets and behaviors such as the belief that failure can lead to improved learning. For educators, the lines between these two parallel strands of exploration often blur as they focus on the desired result—more successful students.

Read the full article about rethinking how students succeed at Stanford Social Innovation Review.