Overall, Golann found the school's approach to teaching social-emotional skills led to orderly classrooms and students with good study and work habits associated with high self-regulation—but not the sort of autonomy, self-motivation, and goal-setting also associated with self-regulation and grit.
The focus on self-control as defined specifically by following rules prevented students from gaining autonomy and taking on more adult leadership roles, she said. "Middle-class students develop a sense of ease with adults; they talk to adults as though they were adults themselves. In contrast, at the no-excuses school, the boundaries between teachers and students were emphasized rather than blurred ... and they lost 'middle-class skills' of ease, flexibility, assertiveness, and leadership," Golann said. "Because students didn't get these things, they started to lose their motivation, especially at upper grades."