ProExam Blog

Is There a Need to “Build Better Students?”

Posted by Jeremy Burrus on Apr 20, 2016 12:03:37 PM

Photo by Chris Jobling (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Three questions well worth considering:

  1. Is the world of work really and truly changing?
  2. If so, what kind of education and skills are required of workers to succeed in this new world?
  3. Is there a need to alter our education systems in order to “build better students” and ensure that workers have the necessary education and skills?

First of all, technology has most certainly changed the way we work. The speed of computing, data analysis, and decision-making has greatly increased. Communication happens nearly instantaneously, and telecommuting is becoming more common as we are able to work collaboratively online. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has estimated that more than 95%, 85%, and 65% of jobs in large, medium, and small businesses, respectively, in OECD countries now involve the internet. Another key driver of change is automation, as computing and robots are now able to take the place of humans in completing several types of tasks.

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Topics: noncognitive skills, education, social and emotional learning

The Whole Child Perspective on Social and Emotional Learning

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on Apr 14, 2016 2:43:59 PM

The Whole Child. That’s been the core commitment of ASCD, a leading professional educators’ association, for almost a decade now. That continuing importance to ensuring we support students in their holistic growth was made loud and clear at the recent ASCD Annual Conference in Atlanta early this month.

ASCD leaders also made explicit the connection they see between their preferred term “Whole Child” and the rapidly rising attention being made to “SEL”—Social and Emotional Learning: they are effectively one and the same.

In two sessions, David Griffith, ASCD Senior Director of Public Policy, presented for the association on SEL program development, leadership, and measurement for accountability—and the implications of these presentations are profound.

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Topics: education, K-12 Noncognitive Assessments, ESSA

Schools Really Can (and Should) Measure Noncognitive Skills

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on Apr 6, 2016 12:30:00 PM

Schools Really Can (and Should) Measure Noncognitive Skills" by Jonathan E. Martin, Principal for JonathanEMartin Ed. Services, and Jeremy Burrus, PhD, Principal Research Scientist for ProExam's Center of Innovative Assessment, was originally published on Getting Smart

The headlines shout that it can’t be done. That there aren’t effective, evidence-based methods for measuring noncognitive skills.

Our response: Yes it can and yes there are.

A front page news article in The New York Times, Testing for Joy and Grit? Schools Nationwide Push to Measure Students’ Emotional Skills, prompted several swift follow-up pieces around the web.

It is excellent to see the effort and attention being dedicated to this subject. We now know that social and emotional skills–which overlap with what many call character strengths, and others label noncognitive attributes–are as or more important than intellectual ability and cognitive aptitude for student and adult success in school, college, careers and life.

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Topics: noncognitive skills, assessments, education, K-12 Noncognitive Assessments, measuring soft skills

Don't Stifle Noncognitive Measurements in K–12, Keep Improving Them

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on Mar 30, 2016 2:02:44 PM

Photo by NEC Corporation of America with Creative Commons license.

Written by Jonathan E. Martin, Principal for JonathanEMartin Ed. Services, with Rich Roberts, PhD, Vice President and Chief Scientist for ProExam's Center for Innovative Assessments 

Angela Duckworth has garnered a great deal of attention this week for her Sunday New York Times op-ed, entitled “Don’t Grade Schools On Grit.” In it, she cites Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the effect that schools have a responsibility to educate for character. She also marshals compelling evidence on the social and emotional learning (SEL) skills we often call character, such as grit, and that “teaching social and emotional skills can improve behavior and raise academic achievement.” 

We agree wholeheartedly about the importance of SEL and character, and we appreciate all Dr. Duckworth has done to bring it attention. We write as friendly associates with Dr. Duckworth: Dr. Roberts has known her since she was a graduate student, and she has co-authored articles with him; I have met with her in small groups several times, interviewed her, and written about her frequently with great admiration. 

One might think that advocates of social emotional learning, knowing the importance character development and recognizing the value of using evidence for better decision-making, would strongly support measurement of student learning in this domain. Surely we would want schools to better be able to know which students are developing these competencies and which are not, so we can better direct our attention to their needs. We need to know which programs are accomplishing our goals and which are not; we should better evaluate which approaches we should fund and promote and which we should de-emphasize. 

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Topics: noncognitive skills, education, character strengths, K-12 Noncognitive Assessments

The Demand is Clear: Next-generation Noncognitive Assessment is Needed Now

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on Jan 15, 2016 10:25:34 AM

Social Emotional Learning and Noncognitive Character Strengths Matter…and How We Measure Them is the Key to Their Improvement

Perhaps the greatest consensus in K-12 learning today centers upon the critical importance of student social and emotional learning and the development of their noncognitive character strengths—their skills for success in school and life.

This is not news to teachers.  Ask a preschool assistant teacher or ask an AP Physics teacher and you’ll find resounding, even impassioned agreement: dependability, persistence, ambition, curiosity, and getting along with others matter as much, or very often much more, than cognitive ability.  Education leaders have similarly embraced this understanding, with ASCD making the “whole child” its signature slogan and state and district leaders shifting the emphasis of schooling to skills and life success.  

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Topics: noncognitive skills, assessments, education, K-12 Noncognitive Assessments

3 Ways to Keep Your Practice Analysis on Target

Posted by Carla Caro, MA, Research Director on Nov 19, 2015 6:11:25 PM

You can't afford to miss the mark when you conduct a practice analysis study. The practice analysis—aka job analysis or role delineation—is the linchpin that connects your credentialing exam content with the real world. That means you have to be confident you're collecting the information you need to develop a legally defensible credential tied to actual, relevant responsibilities and tasks.

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Topics: practice analysis

Expert-Approved Sessions to Attend at the 2015 ICE Exchange

Posted by Kenneth J. Doucet, MBA, Director, Enterprise Growth on Oct 28, 2015 11:58:51 AM

Photo by Ian Sane (CC BY 4.0)

We're looking forward to seeing you in Portland at the 2015 ICE Exchange! ProExam experts will be presenting at four different sessions—we hope you'll join us for thoughtful insights on these top-of-mind topics (click the session to navigate to full details):

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Topics: ICE Exchange

Digital Badges at the 2015 ICE Exchange—How to Make the Most of Your New Digital Credentials

Posted by Kenneth J. Doucet, MBA, Director, Enterprise Growth on Oct 16, 2015 11:09:52 AM

Are you ready for this year's ICE Exchange? We're excited to make the cross-country trek soon to Portland, Oregon to connect with credentialing professionals and we are hoping to find you among them! 

ProExam Vault is the official digital badging platform of the conference, and to help prepare you to #getcred by earning your digital credentials from ICE, here is everything you need to know to make the most of digital badges.

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Topics: Digital Badges, ICE Exchange, ProExam Vault

Give Your Members the Digital Badge Advantage: IMA Case Study

Posted by Kenneth J. Doucet, MBA, Director, Enterprise Growth on Aug 7, 2015 4:49:00 PM



Until recently, members of IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) who participated in the IMA Leadership Academy Program earned a medallion for their accomplishments. Nice as the medallions were, there wasn't a way for members to easily share their recognition with others.

IMA has now created digital badges, which can be displayed on professional and social networks, for each of the five ascending levels of achievement: Pewter, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. 

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Topics: Digital Badges

Digital Badges: Here are 3 Dynamic Reasons to Go Digital

Posted by Kenneth J. Doucet, MBA, Director, Enterprise Growth on Jul 23, 2015 12:39:00 PM

For decades, and probably centuries, those of us who have studied, sweated, persevered and earned a professional credential (or two or three) have proudly framed our paper certificate indicating our achievement and hung it on an office wall. Where it looks good, but it doesn’t do a whole lot else.

There’s every chance those paper certificates may eventually go the way of the dinosaurs, however, thanks to the evolution of digital badges. Unlike their traditional printed forebears, there’s a heck of a lot you can do with digital badges, which are embedded with useful data and easily shared online.

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Topics: Digital Badges, credentials, digital credentials