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.

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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.”

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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.

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Read more in Education Week.