Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Early Childhood, Multilingual, and Higher Education

First Committee Member

Tracy Spies

Second Committee Member

Joseph Morgan

Third Committee Member

Margarita Huerta

Fourth Committee Member

Tiberio Garza

Fifth Committee Member

Gwen Marchand

Number of Pages



Educators and researchers are still attempting to narrow the achievement gap for students in diverse needs general education classrooms. In this quest, non-cognitive skills are being researched for their potential to influence behavioral changes and to increase the academic success of diverse needs students. Grit, a newly defined non-cognitive skill, is defined as perseverance and passion for long term goals. This construct has been explored in a variety of settings but not in diverse general education classrooms, with participants from culturally, linguistically and ability diverse groups. The validity of instruments is paramount for successful studies, and current scales measuring non-cognitive skills and grit have only been scarcely tested with diverse populations. To better understand these measures, we tested a set of non-cognitive scales measuring grit, personality, self-control and self-efficacy, in relation to English Language Arts (ELA) achievement, with 151 diverse needs participants in general education classrooms (i.e., English learners, former English learners, students with learning disabilities, typically developing non-English learners). Between and within-network construct validation approaches were used to contribute information to the validity of the scales, and results supported previous findings for a two-factor structure of the construct. Exploratory (EFA) and Confirmatory Factor Analyses (CFA) were performed for the within-network study to check the psychometric validity of the scales, using inter-factorial correlations and internal consistency reliability of both grit facets, across the different groups of participants. Interestingly, the consistency of interest grit facet showed a positive relationship with Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) ELA scores, but not the perseverance of effort facet. Despite low magnitude, significant relationships were found between grit and measures of ELA achievement. Correlations were also found for the other non-cognitive skills and achievement measures, supporting the need for further investigation of non-cognitive skills and their potential for improving academic achievement.


Diverse needs; English learners; Grit scale; Non-cognitive skills; Scale validation; Students with learning disabilities


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education | Special Education and Teaching

File Format


File Size

1.1 MB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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