Grit is a construct that is widely studied by educational researchers and that has generally been enthusiastically received by educational practitioners. This essay highlights that many of the core claims about grit have either been unexamined or are directly contradicted by the accumulated empirical evidence. Specifically, there appears to be no reason to accept the combination of perseverance and passion for long-term goals into a single grit construct, nor is there any support for the claim that grit is a particularly good predictor of success and performance in an educational setting or that grit is likely to be responsive to interventions. I describe avenues for future research on grit that may help to clarify if grit can contribute to our understanding of success and performance. These avenues include examinations of possible configural relationships between passion and perseverance, whether grit or grit facets represent necessary but not sufficient conditions for performance, interactions between ability and either grit or the facets of grit in the prediction of performance, possible polynomial relationships between grit or grit facets and performance, and improvements in the manner in which grit is assessed. Alternative predictors of performance that are more strongly related to success and performance and that may be more responsive to interventions are also discussed.
Why rich kids are so good at the marshmallow test, by @JessicaCalarco
The failed replication of the marshmallow test does more than just debunk the earlier notion; it suggests other possible explanations for why poorer kids would be less motivated to wait for that second marshmallow. For them, daily life holds fewer guarantees: There might be food in the pantry today, but there might not be tomorrow, so there is a risk that comes with waiting. And even if their parents promise to buy more of a certain food, sometimes that promise gets broken out of financial necessity.
Revisiting the Marshmallow Test: A Conceptual Replication Investigating Links Between Early Delay of Gratification and Later Outcomes – Tyler W. Watts, Greg J. Duncan, Haonan Quan, 2018
We replicated and extended Shoda, Mischel, and Peake’s (1990) famous marshmallow study, which showed strong bivariate correlations between a child’s ability to delay gratification just before entering school and both adolescent achievement and socioemotional behaviors. Concentrating on children whose mothers had not completed college, we found that an additional minute waited at age 4 predicted a gain of approximately one tenth of a standard deviation in achievement at age 15. But this bivariate correlation was only half the size of those reported in the original studies and was reduced by two thirds in the presence of controls for family background, early cognitive ability, and the home environment. Most of the variation in adolescent achievement came from being able to wait at least 20 s. Associations between delay time and measures of behavioral outcomes at age 15 were much smaller and rarely statistically significant.