18 Oct, 2017, 12:22 ET
PRINCETON, N.J., Oct. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Evaluating an applicant's character attributes as part of the independent school admission process -- along with evaluating his or her academic performance and cognitive skills -- can help a school gain a fuller understanding of that applicant. A new assessment tool from The Enrollment Management Association (EMA) aims to do just that. Launched September 25 and currently in use by 440 independent schools, The Character Skills Snapshot is a 30-minute online non-cognitive assessment tool that measures applicants' perceptions and use of eight character skills: social awareness, teamwork, integrity, self-control, resilience, open-mindedness, intellectual curiosity, and responsibility.
Recent research on character skills and their impact and development has led to a wide variety of news articles and op-ed pieces, including several pieces in the New York Times. Canada recently announced it will revise report cards to include "transferrable skills," or things like communication, collaboration, and citizenship. The Harvard Graduate School of Education created the Turning the Tide Initiative to introduce alternative materials into the postsecondary admission process, and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), leaders in Social Emotional Learning (SEL) research, have published several meta-analytic studies touting the benefits of SEL intervention. Additionally, the World Economic Forum just identified the top 10 skills individuals should master to enter the workforce in 2020, noting that emotional intelligence will be a major skill.
"Character and its development have always been important to the mission of independent schools and their admission processes, but until now, there really has been no tool they could use to measure a child's character skill development at the time they apply," says Heather Hoerle, executive director of the EMA. "Grades and test scores just don't tell schools the whole story. The Character Skills Snapshot provides next-level holistic information and illuminates areas where an independent school's community can nurture and develop a child's emerging skills, while allowing them opportunities to utilize those they've already developed."
The Enrollment Management Association created The Character Skills Snapshot using a collaborative, user-based approach. Enrollment leaders from nearly 50 independent schools, as well as assessment development experts from the Educational Testing Service (the world's largest private nonprofit educational testing and assessment organization; developer for the SAT and provider of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and the testing and research team at EMA (provider of the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT)) worked together to select the skills and determine how to measure them, write the questions and scenarios, and create the results report. Rigorous pilot testing with more than 12,000 students enrolled in or applying to independent schools, as well as user testing and feedback from parents, helped to ensure the effectiveness of the tool and strengthen the content and design of the report.
Schools that are members of EMA may use this tool as part of their overall admission practices to complement other information they gather, with the goal of creating a more complete portfolio that represents the whole child and assists both families and admission teams in determining the best fit for the student and the school.
More information about The Snapshot can be found at https://ssat.org/snapshot.
About The Enrollment Management Association
The Enrollment Management Association provides unparalleled leadership and service in meeting the admission assessment and enrollment needs of schools, students, and families. For more information, please visit www.enrollment.org.
SOURCE The Enrollment Management Association
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