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Next Generation Noncognitive Assessment System

Affirming and Advancing SEL: The Evidence is Here

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on Aug 3, 2017 11:30:33 AM

“Sure, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) would be a great addition, but there’s no way to add it to the plate; our teachers already have their hands full with preparing students academically, and there’s no way our board will let us direct resources to anything that doesn’t raise test scores.”

“My teachers would love to get more support for Social and Emotional Learning, and would be happy to commit more time to it, but our district office demands that our initiatives be evidence-based, and how do we really know if teaching SEL actually works.”

How often have you heard variants of one or both of these comments in your school or district?

For educators working with students daily, juggling the myriad of demands enhancing student achievement and navigating the complex regulations burdening them, these are entirely understandable reactions and concerns. It’s not that teachers, counselors, principals, and superintendents don’t care about life skills for their students; of course they do. They know more than anyone what a difference it makes when students can manage their anger, persevere during difficulties, exercise self-discipline in their studies, and get along with others.

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Topics: SEL, research, ACT Tessera

ACT Tessera: “A Perfect Fit for Our Mission and Values”

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on Jun 21, 2017 12:33:56 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, school stories

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