Some important things not measured by the ACT or SAT

are brought up in this Education Week article. According to researchers at Michigan State University, the following qualities are essential to–not college eligibility, but college readiness (and hence, success):

  • Conscientiousness as measured by such traits as dependability, perseverance through tasks, and work ethic
  • Agreeableness, including teamwork
  • Emotional stability
  • Extroversion
  • Openness to new experiences

As of now, none of these can be measured by standardized tests, another flaw in their validity as a measurement of successful teaching and learning. But that may change. According to the article:

Roger P. Weissberg, a psychology and education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the director of the university’s Social and Emotional Research Group is building “common-core standards for social-emotional learning,” while Steve Robbins, the vice president for research at ACT Inc., said the Iowa City, Iowa-based testing company is integrating academic achievement, behavior, and career planning into its K-12 programs.
The Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University Center for the Social Organization of Schools, known for its oft-cited research on early-warning indicators of students at risk of dropping out of high school, has started to explore ways to find similar early-warning signs for students at risk of graduating high school only to drop out later in college, according to Ruth C. Neild, a research scientist at the center.

 As we study and come to better understand the complex interactions that lead to human success, we will doubtless find many other areas where we will need better and more data before reaching conclusions. If we don’t “measure twice,” we may “cut once” in deleterious ways.

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