Seriously, check this out -- from the good folks at from U of Chicago (who brought you STEP!):
Teaching Adolescents To Become Learners summarizes the research on five categories of noncognitive factors that are related to academic performance: academic behaviors, academic perseverance, academic mindsets, learning strategies and social skills, and proposes a framework for thinking about how these factors interact to affect academic performance, and what the relationship is between noncognitive factors and classroom/school context, as well as the larger socio-cultural context.
It examines whether there is substantial evidence that noncognitive factors matter for students' long‐term success, clarifying how and why these factors matter, determining if these factors are malleable and responsive to context, determining if they play a role in persistent racial/ethnic or gender gaps in academic achievement, and illuminating how educators might best support the development of important noncognitive factors within their schools and classrooms.
The review suggests some promising levers for change at the classroom level, and challenges the notion that hard work and effort are character traits of individual students, instead suggesting that the amount of effort a student puts in to academic work can depend, in large part, on instructional and contextual factors in the classroom.
I love this stuff. Many researchers are taking a stab at it. Match Middle School is involved in some "working memory" research that MIT's John Gabrieli is conducting. (Note to self: need to write up Amy's explanation of all that). Our friend Roland Fryer is looking at this issue, too.
Of course I am behind on my reading. I wonder which non-cog factor is the cause of my lag....