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ERIC Number: ED568264
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Mar-24
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Hard Thinking on Soft Skills. Evidence Speaks Reports, Vol 1, #14
Whitehurst, Grover J.
Center on Children and Families at Brookings
The nation's PK-12 education ecosystem is poised to embrace programs intended to enhance soft skills. Soft skills are generally defined by exclusion as personal qualities other than the formal knowledge transmitted by schools that affect student adjustment, i.e., the effort that students put into their work and their social skills. Such soft skills are far too important for the education reform effort associated with them to suffer the fad-like fate of far too many education reforms of the past. There are danger signs in that regard. The goals of this report, which will extend over subsequent reports, are: (1) to raise important questions in the context of the expansion of efforts by schools to enhance the soft skills of their students and measure outcomes; (2) to suggest what prudent school officials and policymakers should do with respect to incorporating soft skills into the school curriculum given the number of unanswered critical questions about how to proceed; and (3) to spur the organizations and individuals that are at the forefront of the movement to increase their interest and investment in the many unknowns of soft skills reform. The embrace of soft skills by education reformers is well in advance of the development of conceptual, instructional, measurement, and accountability models of soft skills that are appropriate to education settings. It will take time to develop a productive program of work that can be incorporated into school reform. In the meantime, prudent policy and incremental experiments in practice are in order. Contains endnotes.
Center on Children and Families at Brookings. 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-797-6069; Fax: 202-797-2968; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center on Children and Families at Brookings