PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - Feb 26, 2013) - The assessment of higher-order skills, such as critical thinking, constructed response and written communications, is increasingly being referred to as one of the primary evaluation tools for student readiness into higher education. Tesseract School today announced that its Upper School students placed in the 84th percentile on the College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA), a performance task that measures realistic problem-solving based on how students synthesize information and offer viable solutions to real-world problems -- all essential skills for college readiness.
The College and Work Readiness Assessment, a major initiative of the Council for Aid to Education, raises levels of student engagement, an indicator of institutional excellence. According to The Trustee's Letter, a professional development newsletter published by Educational Directions Incorporated, a consulting group for advancing school leadership, "the CWRA does not assess simple recall of facts and skills learned in school. Rather it presents students with complex hypothetical scenarios in the form of real-world dilemmas, which requires students to demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of content and the ability to evaluate and apply data in forming real-world solutions."
Hundreds of institutions and hundreds of thousands of students have participated in the CWRA. Douglas Lyons, the Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools, predicts that the CWRA will replace the SAT in the independent school community. "There is a growing excitement about [the CWRA] with workshops being offered at NAIS conferences."
"The College and Work Readiness Assessment is an important barometer for Tesseract," said Nigel Taplin, Head of School. "The CWRA demonstrates that Tesseract's methodology presents an innovative skill of measuring the intelligence, critical thinking and task orientation of our Upper School students. Ranking in the 84th percentile is well above the national average, clearly a major accomplishment for our institution and how our students are educated."
The CWRA presents students with realistic problems that require them to analyze complex materials. Several types of criteria are used that vary in credibility, relevance to the task, and other characteristics. Students' written responses to the task are graded to assess their abilities to think critically, reason analytically, solve problems, and write clearly and persuasively.
Research on the use of performance tasks in school curricula has shown that active collaborative learning provides the best preparation for success of this type of measurement, affirms The Trustee's Letter. Performance task training dramatically raises levels of student engagement, which is increasingly viewed as a valid indicator of institutional excellence.
Tesseract's educational methodology of depth over breadth, skills over memorization, and projects over lectures was further supported when its 2012 graduating class of 18 students was recognized with over $500,000 in merit scholarship. The majority of these students attended their first-choice colleges and universities.
Tesseract's upper school is also gaining renown for its innovative Merit Scholarship Program, which provides four-year scholarship awards that afford up to 50 percent of tuition (plus need-based financial aid) for students who retain excellent grades, demonstrate character, strength and leadership potential.
Students entering grades 9-12 are invited to apply for any of the prominent scholarships, which include math, science, history, technology, languages, arts, literary, oration, athletic, leadership, entrepreneurism, environmentalism and community outreach. These scholarships directly correlate to Tesseract's mission, vision and core values for deserving students.
While Tesseract founded its Upper School in fall 2008 with the dedication of its Middle and Upper School campus (grades 5-12) on 40th Street and Shea Boulevard, Tesseract as an institution will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2013 and remains focused on its student-centered approach and innovative curriculum, which focuses on critical thinking, a love of learning, community service and experiential travel to reinforce global perspectives.
The education leader in the Phoenix Valley, Tesseract School prepares students to excel in college and beyond, lead lives of purpose, and become ethical and compassionate citizens with a global perspective. Tesseract's innovative educational approach engages students to master the basics and become critical thinkers. As a non-profit, independent private school for students from age two through grade 12, resources are focused on recruiting and retaining outstanding educators to continually enhance the school's two campuses in Phoenix and Paradise Valley. For information on Tesseract, visit www.tesseractschool.org or call 480.991.1770.