The Importance of Being Earnest

A January 14, 2013 article published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Colleges Seek ‘Noncognitive’ Gauges of Applicants, Eric Hoover writes about recent efforts by some college admission boards to capture non-cognitive or “metacognitive learning skills.” Here is the link to the article: http://chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Seek-Noncognitive/136621/.
The term “metacognitive learning skills” is attributed to Dr. David T. Conley, the Director of the Center for Education Policy Research and a Professor in University of Oregon’s College of Education.
There is a growing body of evidence that shows that cognitive and metacognitive learning skills are not separate and are in fact intertwined. To put it roughly, being street smart may be just as important as being book smart. Unfortunately, our standard college admission assessments, such as the ACT and SAT are only cognitive assessments. While they are reasonable predictors of a student’s success in college, those assessments don’t measure the emotional skills that are also needed to succeed in the world. Creativity, empathy, and communication are some of those critical skills.
While college admission boards should be taking into account both cognitive and metacognitive learning skills, in what ways should institutions of higher learning recognize that both skill sets are important to students’ success? Despite what is written into the missions and goals of most colleges and universities, are those schools teaching in a way that makes best use of their intellectual and emotional abilities?

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