Education and Social Progress


New Release: 

Fostering and Measuring Skills: 
Improving Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success

By Tim Kautz, James J. Heckman, Ron Diris, Bas ter Weel and Lex Borghans

The OECD Education and Social Progress (‌‌ESP) project aims at better understanding how education and skills drive individual well-being and societal progress. The main project objectives are:


  • To shed light on the power of social and emotional skills such as perseverance, self-esteem and respect for others in driving children’s life success in education, labour market, health, relationships and civic engagement;
  • To better understand how school-aged children’s skills progressively develop overtime through investments from families, schools and communities; and,
  • To develop recommendations, using the evidence collected, for policy-makers, school administrators, practitioners and parents to help children achieve their full potential, improve their life prospects and contribute to societal progress.


‌Phase 1 of the project developed a conceptual framework based on an extensive literature review conducted in collaboration with a number of leading scientists, as well as elaborate longitudinal data analyses of 11 OECD countries.

At the High Level Policy Forum on Skills for Social Progress held on 24-25 March 2014 in São Paulo, Brazil, Ministers of Education and other education leaders from around the world acknowledged an important role of social and emotional skills in driving societal progress and the need to develop and better measure them.

Phase 2 will build on evidence from Phase 1 and develop an international longitudinal study of skills development in cities. This international survey is scheduled to be launched in 2019.


ESP contact (

Koji Miyamoto (tel. +33 1 4524 8554


Project brochure


Related Events

22-24 November 2014, 

Character Education

24-25 March 2014,
São Paulo: 
High Level Policy Forum on Skills for Social Progress 


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