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Testing for grit? California schools pushed on social skills

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Ms Cooney (left) working with students in her fifth-grade class at Visitacion Valley Elementary in San Francisco on Feb 5. In a closely watched experiment, students in California are being tested on their social-emotional skills; the results will be used to rate schools.

San Francisco

THE fifth-graders in Jade Cooney's classroom compete against a kitchen timer during lessons to see how long they can sustain good behaviour - raising hands, disagreeing respectfully and looking one another in the eye - without losing time to insults or side conversations.

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