Keywords: Perseverance, diligence, persistence, personality, tenacity

Introduction to Grit

Early research on grit was conducted by Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, and Kelly (2007), in which they operationalized grit as a trait in which people are resistant in their level of effort in the face of pitfalls and tribulations.  Those with grit are zealous in their endeavors and dedicated to their causes.  Furthermore, these authors theorized that grit involves processes similar to self-control and conscientiousness, but with the caveat that it is a specified form dedicated towards long-term goals.  More recently, grit has been hypothesized to be a personality trait similar to those of the Big Five personality traits, especially in its ability to predict both academic and life outcomes (Muenks, Wigfield, Seung Yang, & O’Neal, 2017). 

When Would You Measure Grit?

Student affairs professionals may want to measure grit if their goal is to gauge:

  • Dedication towards long-term goals
  • Effort of students when faced with adversity
  • Focus towards a specific project, even at the cost of other opportunities
  • Diligence or work ethic
  • Goal related self-control



Those wanting to measure grit may find it helpful to start their research by reviewing similar evidence-based literature:

Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews & Kelly, 2007)

  • These authors produced the seminal research on grit, in which they present the “Grit Scale”, a measure created to gauge consistency of interests and perseverance of effort.


Unpacking grit: Motivational correlates of perseverance and passion for long term goals (Von Culin, Tsukayama & Duckworth, 2014)

  • These researchers utilized Duckworth et al.’s Grit Scale to measure a variety of variables. For example, their first experiment examined correlations between grit and engagement, meaning, and pleasure. 


How True Is Grit? Assessing Its Relations to High School and College Students’ Personality Characteristics, Self-Regulation, Engagement, and Achievement (Muenks et al. 2017)

  • The research presented in this article focuses on predicting final grades using the different facets of grit, as well as other predictors such as self-control and self-regulation.


Keep on Truckin’ or Stay the Course? Exploring Grit Dimensions as Differential Predictors of Educational Achievement, Satisfaction, and Intentions (Bowman, Hill, Denson, & Bronkema, 2015)

  • This research provides a detailed analysis of how grit relates with collegiate outcomes, such as retention rates, adjustment, and sense of belonging.


Frequently Used Instruments/Measures

The following instruments/measures have been used to assess grit:

  • The Grit Scale (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews & Kelly, 2007)
  • The Short Grit Scale (Duckworth & Quinn, 2009)
  • Computer Attitudes Questionnaire: Motivation/Persistence and Study Habits Subscale (Knezek & Christensen, 1996)


Don’t Think This Construct Matches Your Assessment Goals? Check Out These Related Constructs: Motivation, Mindsets, Values

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