Linking Non-Cognitive Skills and Educational Achievement to Girls in Developing Societies: The Case of Ghana with Sally Nuamah
Recent literature on non-cognitive skills provides promising evidence on the power of community and classroom based interventions for closing achievement gaps across school quality, race, and class. Yet, much of this work has been conducted on males that attend elite institutions in the U.S. There is very little work on how these same tactics can be implemented to overcome gender barriers and improve educational achievement of girls, particularly those that attend schools in non-western settings. In this seminar, Sally Nuamah investigates the experiences of girls from underprivileged backgrounds in Ghana striving to be the first in their families to go to college. She finds that school structure - leadership, curriculum, and peer networks - mediates the effects of their socio-cultural environments and individual background through the facilitation of positive academic identities (non-cognitive skills) that promote identity building and strategy development. These positive academic identities are useful for navigating the gender specific barriers that these girls face, thereby enabling their academic achievement.
Sally Nuamah, WAPPP Fellow; Joint Postdoctoral Fellow, University Center for Human Values and Center for Study of Democratic Politics, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University