New Canaan Country School is a founding member of a national effort to improve how schools teach these six skills. Working with a the INDEX group
, consortium of similar schools, and Educational Testing Service (ETS), the non-profit testing company, we have designed and implemented the Mission Skills Assessment™, a tool to measure sixth, seventh and eighth graders’ skills in these areas as a complement to academic assessments.
Designing innovative ways to measure and improve instruction demonstrates our commitment to continuous improvement. Through a combination of personal responses, situational questions, and teacher ratings, the test assesses character skills with scientific reliability and validity. The results are compiled by grade-level, not individual students and benchmarked against other MSA schools.
The MSA is providing us with valuable data regarding our students. The assessment’s primary value, however, is to help us to design better classroom lessons and instructional strategies. To support that goal, Country School also has created the Mission Skills Teacher Network, hosting gatherings of teachers from MSA schools. By sharing best practices, creating online resources, and demonstrating successful lessons, we will improve the character skills of children here at Country School and around the nation.