Questar Assessment The Bridge

Fall 2016

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Welcome to The Bridge, Questar Assessment's newsletter! In this issue — the first of three we'll publish each academic year — we explore student resilience, or grit as it's often called, from several different angles. Our goal for The Bridge is to showcase thought-provoking stories about assessment trends, academic achievement, and the search for educational excellence. Even more important, we want you to finish each issue looking forward to the next one. We welcome your feedback and ideas for stories to cover in future editions. After you've had a chance to look over this issue, please let us know what you think. As we engage in our mission to build a bridge between learning and accountability, I'm happy to have you here with us.

Best regards,

Jamie Candee

Jamie Candee
President and CEO

Grit In Action
Grit in Action

Nadia Lopez, principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, has made it her life's mission to plant seeds of academic excellence in students whose community doesn't always cultivate it. Learn more about her — and her new book, "The Bridge to Brilliance: How One Principal in a Tough Community is inspiring the World."

That's one woman inspiring a whole school full of students. But what does resilience look like in action, at an individual level? You can learn how this student's grit changed the course of his life in this story of a Colorado student who went from an 8th grade expulsion to Stanford this fall.

Now, if you're thinking to yourself, "these feel-good stories are great, but what if that's just something some people are born with?" Grit Is Trendy, But Can It Be Taught? is a cognitive scientist's thoughts about this much-debated topic.

Measuring Grit
Measuring Grit

With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) came a recommendation that emotional skills, such as grit, be assessed. Testing for Joy and Grit? Schools Nationwide Push to Measure Students Emotional Skills is a thought-provoking article that addresses the topic from several viewpoints — including that of MacArthur fellow and author of "Grit," Angela Duckworth. The article includes a link to a test for grit... just in case you're wondering how you'd measure up.

If you're interested in hearing Angela Duckworth talk about grit, you're not alone. Her TED Talk, "The Power of Passion and Perseverance," has been viewed almost 9 million times. In it, she makes reference to Dr. Carol Dweck, a pioneering researcher in the field of motivation and the growth mindset.  Dr. Dweck has a popular TED Talk of her own — "The Power of Believing You Can Improve" with more than 4.5 million views — that explores the idea of teaching children how to grow their brain's capacity to learn and to solve problems.

"Skills like grit and resilience take practice just like algebra and writing."

- Katie McClarty, Ph.D.

In Your Neighborhood

Sept. 28–29
Pearl, Mississippi
Learning Forward MS Learning Retreat

Nov. 2-3
Cromwell, Connecticut
Connecticut Reading Association (CRA) Annual Conference

Questar Corner

Katie McClarty, Ph.D.
Chief Assessment Officer

As parents, educators, and employees of an assessment company, we know there are critical college and career readiness skills beyond what traditional assessments measure. We recognize that being proficient in academic areas such as English language arts or mathematics is often necessary but not sufficient for future success, and we applaud education systems that are adopting a whole child approach to learning. Skills like grit and resilience take practice just like algebra and writing. By introducing children to challenges and giving them supported opportunities to fail and try again, we can help them build these important life skills.

Questar Assement
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