Taking the non out of noncognitive

Rethinking the Notion of "Noncognitive"

The limits of standardized tests are amply documented. Such tests, which can determine whether a student knows key dates in history, aren't facile at assessing creativity, perseverence and other "noncognitive" attributes.

In this article, researcher David T. Conley argues that the term "noncognitive" is holding us back from better gauging students' abilities and potential. He suggests a more holistic approach, which the new Common Core assessments also promise.

"Perhaps it's time to move beyond our current overly cautious approach to measuring elements of the learning process that extend beyond content knowledge," Conley writes. "Perhaps it's time to think of noncognitive dimensions of learning as forms of thinking, rather than as a process that does not involve cognition."