What Shall We Do About Grit? A Critical Review of What We Know and What We Don’t Know

What Shall We Do About Grit? A Critical Review of What We Know and What We Don’t Know

Marcus Credé

Abstract

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.

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