Key Questions

1. What are the ingredients necessary for young adults to succeed?


Amid growing recognition that strong academic skills alone are not enough for young people to become successful adults, this comprehensive report offers wide-ranging evidence to show what young people need to develop from preschool to young adulthood to succeed in college and career, have healthy relationships, be engaged citizens, and make wise choices. It concludes that rich experiences combining action and reflection help children develop a set of critical skills, attitudes, and behaviors. And it suggests that policies should aim to ensure that all children have consistent, supportive relationships and an abundance of these developmental experiences through activities inside and outside of school.

The report offers evidence to show how, where, and when the “key factors” to success develop from early childhood through young adulthood, emphasizing the kinds of experiences and supportive relationships that guide the positive development of these factors. Recognizing that there are no magic solutions to promoting social-emotional learning, the report emphasizes a range of factors that build on one another over time. It also emphasizes factors that are particularly malleable, as well as the age at which each of the key factors comes into prominence, offering adults the most promising window for positive intervention.

A key problem the report identifies is that disadvantaged youth often face extra challenges. For example, they often have fewer in-school and out-of-school opportunities for consistent, positive developmental experiences and relationships and face significant opportunity gaps to developing the essential skills to become productive adults.

Click below to view a 90-second episode of GO FIGURE, with Jenny Nagaoka explaining Figure 4 of this research (September 12, 2023).

Click below to view a session from Teach For America's 25th Anniversary Summit - Broader Student Outcomes: Educating the Whole Child, featuring report author Camille Farrington (February 6, 2016).

Click below to listen to a webinar from Forum FYI, featuring report author Camille Farrington (August 22, 2018)