Full episode
474: Back to School
Act One

No These Things Will Not Be on the Final Exam

Ira talks with Paul Tough, author of the book How Children Succeed, about the traditional ways we measure ability and intelligence in American schools. They talk about the focus on cognitive abilities and conventional "book smarts." They discuss the current emphasis on these kinds of skills in American education, and the emphasis on standardized testing, and then turn our attention to a growing body of research that suggests we may be on the verge of a new approach to some of the biggest challenges facing American schools today. Paul Tough discusses how “non-cognitive skills” — qualities like tenacity, resilience, impulse control — are being viewed as increasingly vital in education, and Ira speaks with economist James Heckman, who’s been at the center of this research and this shift. (38 1/2 minutes)