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Next Generation Noncognitive Assessment System

How One Charter Title I School Strategized SEL for Their Students

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on May 8, 2017 6:28:09 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 ACT Tessera as his complete solution to meet those needs.

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

Encompassing All Your SEL Needs: Tessera as a Complete System

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on Feb 24, 2017 6:03:49 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

Teachers Want Social-Emotional Learning as the ESSA Accountability Factor

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on Jan 25, 2017 12:47:50 PM

 
Snow doesn’t slow down Salt Lake City, and it certainly puts no damper on that school district’s commitment to social and emotional learning (SEL). Over the course of two snowy days last week, I visited several classrooms in a middle and high school, and met with a group of teachers who are teaching a fast-expanding course in social and emotional learning they are calling “Techniques for Tough Times” (TTT), coauthored by Leigh VandenAkker and Gayle Threet

The teachers with whom I met (all of whom are using the Tessera SEL assessment system developed by ProExam as part of their program) made a great impression on my colleagues and me. They are deeply committed to this program; one of them, a former school counselor, enrolled in a graduate program and earned his master’s degree in teaching solely for the purpose of earning the qualification necessary to teach this particular course. They were connected with their students, innovative in their methods and reflective about their practice.

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Topics: education, social and emotional learning, ESSA, SEL

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

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on Jun 1, 2016 5:00:00 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: assessments, education, social and emotional learning, education technology, SEL

Can Grit Be Grown?

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on May 26, 2016 5:30:00 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, character strengths, social and emotional learning, grit, SEL

Assessing the Emerging New Vision for Education

Posted by Jonathan E. Martin on Apr 26, 2016 5:00:00 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, character strengths, social and emotional learning, education technology, SEL, research

Is There a Need to “Build Better Students?”

Posted by Jeremy Burrus on Apr 20, 2016 12:00:00 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, character strengths, social and emotional learning, SEL

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, social and emotional learning, SEL

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