ProExam Blog

ACT Tessera: "A Perfect Fit for our Mission and Values"

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on Jun 21, 2017 12:34:35 PM

For Jeneen Graham, Ed.D., Academic Dean of St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, California, it is the science that comes first when thinking about and selecting measurement and assessment systems. “Selecting ACT Tessera for our school had everything to do with my respect for its particular constructs; I was impressed that they were clearly aligned with the abundant research literature about what are indeed distinct and true human personality attributes. I love that the six ACT Tessera skills are based on the ‘big five’ personality traits, many of which are just the right ones for schools to focus on.”

The other thing that impresses her is that the ACT Tessera assessment system, unlike so many others, doesn’t rely exclusively on self-reporting. “Our school’s primary commitment and focus is growth over time, and we look for reliable data about how students are changing over the years in order to evaluate our success and theirs. Self-report systems, though, have too many limitations to work effectively longitudinally. Respondents in self-report system tend toward answering for social desirability: they know what we value and what are looking for, and each time they take a self-report survey they naturally tend to answer with what they know we want to hear.” 

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Topics: education, K-12 Noncognitive Assessments, ACT Tessera

How One Charter Title I School Strategized SEL for Their Students

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on May 9, 2017 5:48:46 PM

PeeDee Math, Science, and Technology Academy (PDMSTA) describes itself as a school that “implements a strategic educational program that teaches students through an innovative curriculum.”

When PDMSTA Director Keith Bailey recognized that the best strategy to strengthen student behavior, respect and responsibility was by doubling down on their social and emotional learning curriculum, he made the difficult but important decision to allocate his very limited personnel budget to this priority, staffing out a new Director of SEL position, occupied now by an experienced outdoor and experiential educator, Aimee Cox-King.

Then, at the ASCD Annual Conference, Keith set out to find an assessment system for his SEL initiatives. He was targeting a system that could inform their school-wide priorities, provide valid and reliable information about their individual students, and deliver them resources for enhancing SEL instruction and programming. He found and selected ProExam Tessera as his complete solution to meet those needs.

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Topics: assessments, K-12 Noncognitive Assessments, social and emotional learning, SEL

Encompassing All Your SEL Needs: Tessera as a Complete System

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on Feb 24, 2017 6:04:47 PM

Tessera is not just an assessment and measurement instrument.

Tessera (pronounced tes-er-uh) is, in our vision and increasingly in our execution, a noncognitive skills and social-emotional competencies development system. In a nutshell, it encompasses a full social and emotional learning (SEL) program.

The graphic above provides insight into what we are building here, and demonstrates how, in addition to being circular, the system can begin at different points. To navigate it, consider the compass—north, south, and west are all good points to start with Tessera.

Upon joining Tessera, you and your school/district/program immediately begin receiving no-cost coaching (or you can opt for more comprehensive fee-based consulting) to determine how best to implement the Tessera system, how to map the six Tessera SEL competencies to your site’s high priority outcomes, and how to communicate to your constituencies the purposes and plans for Tessera in the future. We also assist, both before and after administering the assessment instrument, in providing presentations to your board, parents, or funders; leading trainings and PD services for your faculty with our team of expert SEL instructors; advising your leadership team in planning and monitoring SEL initiatives; and much more. 

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Topics: assessments, K-12 Noncognitive Assessments, social and emotional learning, Tessera

Where Are We with ESSA’s Non-Academic Factors?

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on Dec 2, 2016 5:21:33 PM

Most readers are probably familiar with the fascinating curve ball the 2015 Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as ESSA, has thrown into state-level mandated accountability indices. In addition to a set of “substantially weighted” academic indicators, states are to add to them “at least one additional indicator of school quality or student success beyond test scores.”

Although we are presently in a moment of political uncertainty with regards to the future of all federal policy and legislation, there is some reason to think ESSA will stand as is: it was passed, after all, in legislation by the Republican-controlled House and Senate before being signed by a Democratic President.

Let us first applaud the inclusion of this additional indicator, what the media is usually labeling (though not entirely accurately) the “Non-academic Indicator” (NAI) or “Non-academic Factor” (NAF) to the mix. This is great news: we know today more than ever before how important it is to broaden our gauges of educational effectiveness.

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Topics: noncognitive skills, education, K-12 Noncognitive Assessments, ESSA, Tessera, non-academic indicators

Europe Needs More and Better Social and Emotional Learning Assessment Throughout Its Educational System

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on Sep 20, 2016 12:36:02 PM


Europe needs more and better social and emotional learning (SEL) and SEL assessment throughout its educational system. This is the conclusion of a recent OECD report, “Skills for Social Progress: The Power of Social Emotional Skills.” 

Elsewhere in this blog series we’ve laid out the demand for these measures in the US context, but today we look globally and to Europe more particularly, against the backdrop of the upcoming E-ATP conference in Lisbon where our colleagues Dr. Rich Roberts and Simmy Ziv-el will be making presentations related to noncognitive assessments.

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Topics: noncognitive skills, education, K-12 Noncognitive Assessments, social and emotional learning, education technology, grit, SEL, europe, measurement

10 Ways Educators Can Use SEL Measurement and Assessment for Student Success

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on Jun 1, 2016 5:18:59 PM


"10 Ways Educators Can Use SEL Measurement and Assessment for Student Success" by Jonathan E. Martin, Principal for JonathanEMartin Ed. Services, was originally published on Getting Smart.

 

In sharing a series of posts over the past several weeks about the rising demand for social emotional learning (SEL) measurement and noncognitive skills assessment, we noted that new methods are emerging for doing it effectively.

Still, some are wondering what a typical (or atypical) school or district would do with the data and reports they received after administering such an assessment to their students?

Because noncognitive assessment is still so new to schools, one answer to this question is we don’t yet know. We anticipate that five years from now we may be astounded by the diverse and innovative ways in which educators wield what we believe will be a powerful and creative tool.

Nevertheless, we can speculate about how measuring and assessing noncognitive skills and character strengths might valuably assist educators, both in bolstering students’ social and emotional skills and elevating their academic skills and traditional test scores.

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Topics: noncognitive skills, education, K-12 Noncognitive Assessments, social and emotional learning, education technology, grit, SEL

Can Grit Be Grown?

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on May 26, 2016 5:17:19 PM


Photo from Getting Smart 
"Can Grit Be Grown?" by Jonathan E. Martin, Principal for JonathanEMartin Ed. Services, was originally published on
Getting Smart.

Can we grow grit in ourselves and others? And if so, how best might we do so?

Since grit grew to great heights of public awareness in the early 2010s thanks to a combination of magazine articles, best-selling books and TED talks, its significance has preoccupied many educators. Dr. Angela Duckworth’s research struck a nerve, secured her a MacArthur genius grant and launched a million conversations across the nation. 

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Topics: noncognitive skills, education, K-12 Noncognitive Assessments, social and emotional learning, ESSA, education technology, grit, SEL

Assessing the Emerging New Vision for Education

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on Apr 26, 2016 5:23:31 PM


Photo by Brad Flickinger (CC by 2.0)

“SEL programs almost universally demonstrate a strong return on investment (ROI) over long periods of time.” So states a recent World Economic Forum (WEF) report, entitled “New Vision for Education: Fostering Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) through Technology.”

Although the U.S. has seen the most research about the importance of social and emotional learning (SEL), this is a global urgency. One SEL program, the Healing Classroom Initiative, which has been deployed in more than 20 nations including South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, has “realized considerable progress in both academic achievement and social benefits for students whose schooling had been interrupted by conflict.”

Parents and educators agree in surveys with what researchers have found in their studies. The report notes that “more than 90% of parents and teachers in China emphasize teaching children these skills, for example, and in the U.S., 81% of parents and 78% of teachers emphasize SEL.” 

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Topics: noncognitive skills, education, K-12 Noncognitive Assessments, social and emotional learning, education technology

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