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Types of ISSAQ Factors

It can be tempting to frame noncognitive factors from a deficit perspective. That is, if someone has a challenge, just apply the necessary intervention or resource to help them overcome it.


While there are some factors where this is the case, for others a different tact is required. In some cases, information might inform the way a coach works with a student, with more direct interventions to follow later. Each noncognitive factor can be considered in one of the three following ways:

Framing Factors

Those factors that are NOT best served by direct intervention but can provide valuable information in understanding how to work with an individual or group.


In these cases, applying an intervention directly to a student without any coach or institutional support, will likely be ineffective.

Consider a student with low Self-Efficacy. Simply telling a student they lack Self-Efficacy could, in fact, actually reinforce their doubts. Rather, this information is better used to help a coach understand how to work with this student, structure tasks, and frame conversations.

Examples: Self-Efficacy, Persistence

Strategy Factors

Those factors where the right tools, resources, or approaches can be helpful to foster success, in many cases without the intensive support of a coach.

In these cases, providing a student with feedback and connecting them with the appropriate resource can foster better approaches.

For example, students often lack Organizational skills because they've never been required to balance their own schedule, as is required by college-level work. Connecting them with time management and study tools can help smooth that transition.

Examples: Organization, Coping Strategies

Disposition Factors

Those factors that may require a combination of information and conversation to shift an individual’s perspective.


In these cases, providing information during the initial phases of coaching can help guide and explain a concept. Then, more direct interventions can be applied.

Low Goal Commitment can be a complex factor to understand. Students may under-value college success for a host of reasons. Having an initial conversation can be helpful to determine which next approach or resource might be best.

Examples: Goal Commitment, Institutional Commitment

When learning about each ISSAQ factor, note whether it is positioned as a framing, strategy, or dispositional factor when considering how to support a student in that area.

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