The Missing Metrics: Measuring Students’ Relationships and Networks

Young people need the right resources at their disposal to navigate uncertain times and to pursue their evolving interests and passions. All too often, however, a critical resource in the opportunity equation repeatedly goes unmeasured: students’ social capital.

About the Research

Social capital describes students’ access to, and ability to mobilize, relationships that help them further their potential and their goals. Just like skills and knowledge, relationships offer resources that drive access to opportunity.

The Christensen Institute convened a host of early innovators across K–12, postsecondary, and workforce development to purposefully build and measure students’ social capital in an effort to expand access to opportunity. Drawing on those emerging practices, they offer a framework for measuring social capital grounded in both research and practice.

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By intentionally measuring students’ social capital, education systems can start to build an evidence base for closing the social side of opportunity gaps and ensuring all students are supported equitably in their path to economic prosperity.

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