This week in the Middle School we are venturing to do just that through a tool called the Mission Skills Assessment (MSA).
The MSA is an important and innovative tool developed jointly between Educational Testing Services and INDEX, an independent school consortium of fifty schools of which Randolph is a member. It gives schools a more scientific way to measure success in teaching the skills that they hold in highest regard.
This week, our Middle School students in grades 6 through 8 are taking the Mission Skills Assessment. In contrast to other standardized assessments, the MSA takes only one hour to complete and the results are not individualized; instead, schools receive feedback on how well their students are learning in areas such as Teamwork, Creativity, Ethics, Resilience, Intellectual Curiosity, and Time Management. Questions are both self-reflective and situational.
On the topic of resilience, for example, students are asked to rate themselves on statements such as, “I get stressed out easily when things don’t go my way.” In addition, they’ll be asked how they would respond to a hypothetical situation presented to them about a time when things didn’t go their way.
I’m excited about this assessment. It is unique in its makeup and people I've talked to at other schools that are using it are finding that their results lead to interesting advisory conversations and creative curricular opportunities for students. In addition, we feel the traits the MSA measures are essential to success in education and life. We hope to learn how we can do an even better and more intentional job of instilling these skills in our students.
I look forward to this new venture, along with the seventy other independent schools participating in the MSA this year, and learning more about how well Randolph is fulfilling its mission and philosophy.