March 2, 2017

Assessing Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Competencies for Students’ College Success – New Report

Educational attainment – the number of years a person spends in school – is strongly linked to adult earnings, as well as health and civic engagement.  Yet relative to other developed nations, educational attainment in the U.S. is lagging, with young Americans who previously led the world in completing postsecondary degrees now falling behind their global peers.

As part of a broader goal aimed at increasing college graduation rates, researchers and policymakers are exploring whether abilities that go beyond cognitive skills -- intrapersonal competencies such as self-regulation of emotions and interpersonal competencies like teamwork – can support student success in higher education.

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says that only limited research has been conducted on the potential relationships between various intra- and interpersonal competencies and students’ college success. Nevertheless, based on the available research, the committee that conducted the study and wrote the report identified several competencies – for example, sense of belonging and growth mindset-- that appear to support success in undergraduate education and can be enhanced through low-cost interventions. The report recommends further research on these promising competencies, offers guidance on developing ways to assess them, and cautions against high-stakes use of currently-available assessments of them.


The report, Supporting Students’ College Success: Assessment of Intrapersonal and Interpersonal

Competencies, is available for immediate release.  Media inquiries should be directed to the Office of News and Public Information; tel. 202-334-2138 or email