A Cross-Disciplinary Look at Non-cognitive Assessments

  • Vanessa R. SimmreingEmail author
  • Lu Ou
  • Maria Bolsinova
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Mathematics & Statistics book series (PROMS, volume 265)


The past two decades have seen an increasing interest in studying non-cognitive skills across disciplines. Despite the shared popularity, non-cognitive skills have been assessed variously across disciplines with different assumptions and target populations. Synthesizing across the commonalities, differences, and limitations in these various approaches will have important implications for the development and interpretation of non-cognitive assessments. In this project, we review the ways in which non-cognitive skills have been conceptualized and measured across psychology and education, and use self-control as an example to address the challenges to various types of assessments that are commonly seen in these disciplines. We will draw implications from a cross-disciplinary perspective on the validity and reliability of the non-cognitive assessments.


Non-cognitive Assessment Validity Reliability 


  1. Doebel, S., & Munakata, Y. (2018). Group influences on engaging self-control: Children delay gratification and value it more when their in-group delays and their out-group doesn’t. Psychological Science, 29(5), 738–748. Scholar
  2. Duckworth, A. L., Tsukayama, E., & Kirby, T. A. (2013). Is it really self-control? Examining the predictive power of the delay of gratification task. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39(7), 843–855. Scholar
  3. Duckworth, A. L., & Yeager, D. S. (2015). Measurement matters: Assessing personal qualities other than cognitive ability for educational purposes. Educational Researcher, 44(4), 237–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Duckworth, A. L., & Kern, M. L. (2011). A meta-analysis of the convergent validity of self-control measures. Journal of Research in Personality, 45(3), 259–268. Scholar
  5. Easton, J. (2013). Using measurement as leverage between developmental research and educational practice. In Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning Meeting. Charlottesville, VA. Retrieved from
  6. Kidd, C., Palmeri, H., & Aslin, R. N. (2013). Rational snacking: Young children’s decision-making on the marshmallow task is moderated by beliefs about environmental reliability. Cognition, 126(1), 109–114. Scholar
  7. Kyllonen, P. C., Bertline, J., & Zu, J. (2018, April). Measuring hard-to-measure (noncognitive) skills: Social, emotional, self-management, and beyond. Presented at the Pre-conference training session at the meeting of the National Council on Measurement in Education, New York, NY.Google Scholar
  8. Ma, F., Chen, B., Xu, F., Lee, K., & Heyman, G. D. (2018). Generalized trust predicts young children’s willingness to delay gratification. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 169, 118–125. Scholar
  9. Michaelson, L. E., de la Vega, A., Chatham, C. H., & Munakata, Y. (2013). Delaying gratification depends on social trust. Frontiers in Psychology, 4.
  10. Michaelson, L. E., & Munakata, Y. (2016). Trust matters: Seeing how an adult treats another person influences preschoolers’ willingness to delay gratification. Developmental Science, 19(6), 1011–1019. Scholar
  11. Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Rodriguez, M. (1989). Delay of gratification in children. Science, 244(4907), 933–938. Scholar
  12. Mischel, W., & Ebbesen, E. B. (1970). Attention in delay of gratification. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 16(2), 329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mischel, W., Ebbesen, E. B., & Raskoff Zeiss, A. (1972). Cognitive and attentional mechanisms in delay of gratification. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 21(2), 204–218. Scholar
  14. Mischel, W., & Shoda, Y. (1995). A cognitive-affective system theory of personality: Reconceptualizing situations, dispositions, dynamics, and invariance in personality structure. Psychological Review, 102(2), 246–268. Scholar
  15. Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Peake, P. K. (1988). The nature of adolescent competencies predicted by preschool delay of gratification. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(4), 687–696. Scholar
  16. Moffitt, T. E., Arseneault, L., Belsky, D., Dickson, N., Hancox, R. J., Harrington, H., … Caspi, A. (2011). A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety. In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Vol. 108, Issue 7, pp. 2693–2698). Scholar
  17. Shoda, Y., Mischel, W., & Peake, P. K. (1990). Predicting adolescent cognitive and self-regulatory competencies from preschool delay of gratification: Identifying diagnostic conditions. Developmental Psychology, 26(6), 978–986. Scholar
  18. van Geert, P., & van Dijk, M. (2002). Focus on variability: New tools to study intra-individual variability in developmental data. Infant Behavior and Development, 25(4), 340–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ACT, Inc.Iowa CityUSA

Personalised recommendations