Institute for Social and Economic Change
Working Paper: 452
Impact of Non-Cognitive Skills on Cognitive Learning
Outcomes: A Study of Elementary Education in India
The significance of measuring non-cognitive skills of school children and understanding its importance in predicting academic performance is an area of research that has become increasingly prominent over the years. The objective of this paper is to measure the non-cognitive skills of students and also to examine its impact on the cognitive learning outcomes. Our methodology for constructing an index for non-cognitive skills is broadly divided into two parts. In the first part, eight sub-indices viz. consistency, perseverance of effort, growth mindset, conscientiousness, academic behaviour, self-regulated learning, self-control, school climate have been constructed for each of the aforementioned parameters using the technique of Polychoric-Principal Component Analysis. In the second stage, an overall index for non-cognitive skills has been constructed using these eight sub-indices. Further, cognitive learning outcomes have been measured on a test performed for the students of Standard IV on their mathematics competency. Results show that an overall non-cognitive skills index is a responsible factor behind a gloomy picture of Mathematics learning outcomes. Moreover, five indicators of non-cognitive skills, such as Perseverance of Effort, Growth Mindset, Conscientiousness, Academic Behaviour and Consistency show a significant positive correlation with the Mathematics test scores. Hence, an argument can be made for inculcating policy directives that aid in the development of non-cognitive skills and promote non-cognitive skills among children that shape their cognitive learning outcomes.