Research

The principles of SkillSense are grounded in research in economics, psychology, and sociology. Local research as well as national and international studies show that people who demonstrate higher social-emotional skills do better in school and life.

Local Research

Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce

In a 2020 survey on employability skills, employers were asked:

1. What are the top 5 skills you would like to see in the ideal employee or candidate?

2. What the top 3 skills that are rare or hard to find in an employee or candidate?

The results:

9 skills accounted for 80% of the skills employers stated they would most like to see in the ideal employee or candidate.

These same skills also accounted for 77% of the skills employers stated are the hardest to find in employees or candidates.

Among 263 responses from a wide variety of sectors, the top five skills identified as more important:

155: Responsibility
134: Teamwork
128: Adaptability
100: Reasoning
84: Time management

Talent 2025

In a 2020 study conducted by the Calvin Center for Social Research on the Future of Work, it was determined that focussing on the development of Soft Skills across the region would make it best able to meet the demands of future work environments.

When asked how important soft skills are to their business, no matter the occupation or position,  respondents overwhelming indicated that soft skills are vital to what they do.

View the research collected by Talent 2025 and the Calvin Center for Social Research

 

National and International Research

The value of social and emotional skills has been confirmed in multiple studies tying these skills to long-term success.

OECD Study on Social & Emotional Skills

The OECD – the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – is undertaking a comprehensive international assessment of the social and emotional skills ... READ MORE
The OECD – the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – is undertaking a comprehensive international assessment of the social and emotional skills of students. The “Big Five” domains and corresponding skills being studied closely align with those identified by stakeholders in SkillSense. As one of the first international efforts to develop a comprehensive set of metrics around social and emotional skills, the intent of the OECD study is to enhance policies to improve the development and well-being of children and young people. The ambitious study completed its first cycle in 2018-2020, with results and the start of a second cycle in 2021.
More Resources About the Study

The Hamilton Project: Seven Facts on Noncognitive Skills

The Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative of the Brookings Institution, published a paper in 2016 concluding that noncognitive skills are integral to educational ... READ MORE
The Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative of the Brookings Institution, published a paper in 2016 concluding that noncognitive skills are integral to educational performance and labor-market outcomes. Among the findings: (1) There is a growing demand in the U.S. economy for noncognitive skills Interventions improve student achievement and reduce behavior problems and (2) a teacher’s ability to improve noncognitive skills has more effect on graduation rates than the ability to raise test scores.
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Education Next: Linking Social- Emotional Learning to Long-Term Success

The authors examined results from a detailed annual survey about social-emotional development and school climate administered to students in the Chicago Public Schools ... READ MORE
The authors examined results from a detailed annual survey about social-emotional development and school climate administered to students in the Chicago Public Schools. After identifying individual high schools’ impacts on 9th-grade students’ social-emotional development and test scores, they traced the effects of attending a school that excels along each of these dimensions on short-term outcomes, such as absenteeism and school-based arrests, as well as on longer-term outcomes, like high-school graduation and college enrollment.
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Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute: Soft Skills are Hard

The authors analyzed more than 6,000 academic articles and policy papers on “soft skills” written by governments, pro- fessional associations and other stake- holders ... READ MORE
The authors analyzed more than 6,000 academic articles and policy papers on “soft skills” written by governments, professional associations and other stakeholders. They found a clear demand but varied definitions for these skills. At the same time, employer perceptions of what they need often varies from what they get in new graduates. The authors saw a need for clearer and more consistent measurements of skills.
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Child Trends: A Developmental Perspective for High School Practitioners on College & Workplace Readiness

In this research brief, the authors identify steps that schools can take to address gaps in ... READ MORE
In this research brief, the authors identify steps that schools can take to address gaps in high school curricula to develop cognitive and developmental skills in all populations. The steps include: (1) Courses designed to teach reasoning and problem-solving alongside basic concept, (2) teaching self-management and learning strategies at key points in the school year, and (3) integrating character education and multicultural education with regular class work.
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