KIPP and Riverdale’s Seven Highly Predictive Strengths

One of the primary goals of a proficiency-based grading system is to produce grades that more accurately reflect a student’s learning progress and achievement, including situations in which students struggled early on in a semester or school year, but then put in the effort and hard work needed to meet expected standards. If you ask nearly any adult, they will tell you that failures—and learning to overcome them—are often among the most important lessons in life.

The following habits of work model is based on the Seven Highly Predictive Strengths identified by KIPP and Riverdale Country School in collaboration with Dr. Angela Duckworth, Dr. Chris Peterson, and Dr. Martin Seligman. The Seven Highly Predictive Strengths, reported in the Character Growth Card, provide a solid research-based foundation for schools looking to develop a habits-of-work reporting system.

      • Finishes whatever he or she begins
      • Stuck with a project or activity for more than a few weeks
      • Tried very hard even after experiencing failure
      • Stayed committed to goals
      • Kept working hard even when s/he felt like quitting


      • Believed that effort would improve his/her future
      • When bad things happened, s/he thought about things they could do to make it better next time
      • Stayed motivated, even when things didn’t go well
      • Believed that s/he could improve on things they weren’t good at

Self-Control (school work)

      • Came to class prepared
      • Remembered and followed directions
      • Got to work right away instead of waiting until the last minute
      • Paid attention and resisted distractions

Self-Control (interpersonal)

      • Remained calm even when criticized or otherwise provoked
      • Allowed others to speak without interrupting
      • Was polite to adults and peers
      • Kept temper in check


      • Recognized what other people did for them
      • Showed appreciation for opportunities
      • Expressed appreciation by saying thank you
      • Did something nice for someone else as a way of saying thank you

Social Intelligence

      • Was able to find solutions during conflicts with others
      • Showed that s/he cared about the feelings of others
      • Adapted to different social situations


      • Was eager to explore new things
      • Asked questions to help s/he learn better
      • Took an active interest in learning


      • Actively participates
      • Showed enthusiasm
      • Approached new situations with excitement and energy

  Download the Character Growth Card (.pdf)

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