Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework

There is a growing recognition that strong academic skills alone are not enough for young people to become successful adults, and this comprehensive report offers wide-ranging evidence to show that what young people need to develop from preschool to young adulthood to succeed in college and career are factors related to non-cognitive, or social and emotional learning. This report details the multi-year work engaged by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (UChicago CCSR) to build a conceptual framework that articulates what is needed to guide children and youth into successful adults. Three phases of the project were conducted to achieve a cohesive and comprehensive framework, and work in these phases included analysis and synthesis of the literature interviews and convenings of with a range of experts and stakeholders as well as students and adults working in schools and community programs. The framework is organized by three key factors: agency, integrated identity, and competencies. Underlying the key factors are four foundational components: self-regulation, knowledge and skills, mindsets, and values. The report describes the framework in depth and concludes with targeted recommendations for all stakeholders.

Content Comments 

This report is a detailed account of the findings from the UChicago CCSR team in developing a comprehensive framework on societial and developmental factors that work together to help children and youth reach their full potential as young adults. The framework is complex, which is to be expected given the project's charge, but the report does an admirable job in making the report readable and accessible. Several accompanying documents found on the project's homepage, such as an infographic, four-page brief, and excutive summary, make this report accessible to a broad range of readers. The project team hopes that the framework described in this resource is a first step in guiding practicioners, policymakers, parents, and researchers in working together around a vision providing the skills and knowledge necessary for young adult success; and the targeted recommendations support the team's aims. For stakeholders interested in knowing what contributes to adult success, regardless of differences in children and youth's backgrounds, this report will help inform their ideas.