By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Researchers at the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called the “nation’s report card” on K-12 academics, are testing varying questions in interviews with a representative sample of American kids, grades 4, 8 and 12 in a desire to learn more about school climate, technology use and other non cognitive factors.

They are finding that changes in wording make a difference; students, preferred answers with yes and no responses. Some didn’t know what “thinking abstractly” meant and “mistakes” was preferred over “experienced failure.”

While poor academics can lead to sanctions in many districts, schools with poor ratings in non-cognitive skills will be paired with higher scoring mentor schools.

Seven districts in California are using school culture and students’ social and emotional learning in evaluation indicating a growing interest in broader evaluations.

Read more in Education Week.