Hawaii schools among group implementing new test to measure students’ character

Local News

Schools test students all the time to see how smart they are.

Now, a new test will analyze their character.

Mid-Pacific Institute and 32 other independent schools nationwide, including Kamehameha Schools, developed the Character Skills Snapshot over a three-year period.

The Enrollment Management Association (formerly the Secondary School Admission Test Board or SSATB) oversaw the project.

“Schools across the country were looking at another vehicle to give us more information about a student. You get grade reports, you get teacher recommendations, you have the SSAT, which gives you reading and math results for a student, but what else is there besides a student? What’s their character like?” said Scott Siegfried, Mid-Pacific vice president of external affairs. “Schools have been asking for that for years, and the Character Skills Snapshot is that vehicle that gives us more information about a student.”

The Character Skills Snapshot will test a child’s intellectual curiosity, teamwork, resilience, open-mindedness, initiative, responsibility, self-control, and social awareness.

According to Siegfried, the test is just one more piece of the puzzle.

“It’s really to get to know the student again better through the process of admissions, and if we do admit the student, then we have information that we can help support and add to that personal growth to that student while they’re here at Mid-Pacific,” he said.

Although the test was developed to help schools enhance the student’s learning experience once they are accepted into a school, there are concerns about other ways the test could be used.

“It could be useful to a school,” said Honolulu resident Monice LeRoy, “but what happens if the child doesn’t meet the requirements of the people that are testing them? And they say, well this child doesn’t fit. Does that mean then they don’t get into the school? So it could kind of work both ways. It could be good, but then it could, maybe, not be so good if the child isn’t accepted into the school. Maybe kind of like profiling.”

“It’s not a pass fail test at all,” said Siegfried. “It really just gives us more information. Everybody is still developing their characters, even us as adults, so it just gives a snapshot for that student at that time to see where they are in some of those different character skills.”Click here for more information about the Character Skills Snapshot.

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