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Is ‘Grit’ Doomed to Be the New Self-Esteem?

And researchers definitely disagree on the best way to measure them. Asking students to take surveys, or complete certain tasks, are powerful tools in an experimental, research context. But they’re not as robust when applied on a wide scale to measure the performance of hundreds of thousands of students, or as a driver of high-stakes decisions like whether a student should move on to the next grade.

“We feel like people will read about something designed for research, and immediately assume that you can start grading 4th-grade teachers on [their students' answers],” Duckworth said. As examples, Duckworth cited the famous “marshmallow test” and her own “grit scale.”