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.
Of course, many Tessera participants begin at the top of the diagram, first assessing their students using the Tessera instrument, and it is self-evident: we can’t provide institutional and student-level reports (the east compass point) until after the assessment has been completed.
As for the south point, those elements are available at any time throughout your Tessera experience. In order to support your instructional programming in SEL, we’re providing a brand new SEL teacher playbook as a benefit solely for Tessera users. This 150-page PDF document, which can be downloaded and shared with teachers and counselors in your school or system, provides dozens of lessons and activities for developing student capacities in grit and tenacity, teamwork, and resilience, to name a few.
We recently launched the Tessera Professional Learning Community (T-PLC) and are very excited about; it is something we offer and facilitate to provide updates about the Tessera system and, much more importantly, a forum in which Tessera users can speak to each other, share notes, compare experiences, report on successes, and troubleshoot challenges.
T-PLC works via bi-monthly webinar conferences and an annual users meeting, all of which are exclusively for Tessera users and free of charge. Our first webinar conference, held early in February, ran a full hour as participants discussed communications with parents, sharing reports with students, and plans they had for their faculty. Over time and as our user base grows and diversifies, we anticipate the possibility of affinity-based PLC groups, such as urban public and charters, suburban public, Catholic and Christian, afterschool programs, and independent schools can connect and collaborate with school programs of similar types.
New York City will host the first in-person T-PLC conference on May 4th and 5th this year, at the ProExam headquarters, adjacent to the Columbia University on the Upper West side of Manhattan. It will feature a keynote by Rich Roberts, Chief Scientist of the ProExam Center for Innovative Assessments, data analysis by Principal Research Scientist Jeremy Burrus, and many reports from the field about what’s happening in “Tessera-land.” Plenty of time and opportunity will also be provided for Tessera users to meet in small groups, plan together, and strengthen their colleagueship as fellow educators committed to and leading the way in strengthening noncognitive skills and SEL in their schools.
Tessera isn’t an assessment instrument designed for the sake of data; it’s a system and a program to enhance our students’ learning and secure their future, knowing that they will learn more today, and be more successful tomorrow, with strong noncognitive skills and social-emotional competencies. Join the program!