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Non-cognitive skills

Personality traits or attributes the importance of which for cognitive achievement and labour market outcomes is increasingly recognised although they are not yet systematically assessed. A broadly accepted taxonomy of personality traits is the Five-Factor model or the ‘Big Five’ factors. This model includes the following factors: (a) agreeableness, or the willingness to help other people, act in accordance with other people interests and the degree to which an individual is cooperative, warm and agreeable versus cold, disagreeable and antagonistic; (b) conscientiousness, or the preference for following rules and schedules, for keeping engagements and the attitude of being hardworking, organized and dependable, as opposed to lazy, disorganized and unreliable; (c) emotional stability, encompassing dimensions such as nervous versus relaxed and dependent versus independent, and addressing the degree to which the individual is insecure, anxious, depressed and emotional rather than calm, self-confident and cool; (d) extraversion, or the preference for human contacts, empathy, gregariousness, assertiveness and the wish to inspire people; and (e) autonomy (or openness, openness to experience), which indicates the individual propensity to decide and the degree of initiative and control or the degree to which a person needs intellectual stimulation, change, and variety. (Source: Brunello & Schlotter 2011).

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