Thursday, December 11, 2008

Topic: College Applications

10-second review: Six questions Oregon State University asks to determine students’ “non-cognitive” factors that make up one-third of the steps in admission to the university. It’s an “insight resume.” Questions must be answered in 100 words.

Title: “Assessment Models Worth Sharing.” Kathleen Blake Yancey, NCTE President. Council Chronicle (November 2008), 28-29. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: Questions on “non-cognitive factors” to be completed as part of the admission application to Oregon State University:

1. Leadership/Group Contributions: Describe examples of your leadership experience in which you have significantly influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time. Consider responsibilities to initiatives taken in or out of school

2. Knowledge in a field/creativity: Describe any of your special interests and how you have developed knowledge in these areas. Give examples of your creativity: the ability to see alternatives; take diverse perspectives; come up with many, varied, or original ideas; or willingness to try new things.

3. Dealing with adversity: Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to address this challenge. Include whether you turned to anyone in facing that challenge, the role that person played and what you learned about yourself.

4. Community service: Explain what you have done to make your community a better place to live. Give examples of specific projects in which you have been involved over time.

5. Handling systemic challenges: Describe your experiences facing or witnessing discrimination. Tell us how you responded and what you learned from those experiences and how they have prepared you to contribute to the OSU community.

6. Goals/task commitment: articulate the goals you have established for yourself and your efforts to accomplish these. Give at least one specific example that demonstrated your work ethic/diligence.

Summary/Quote: “The effects of the ‘insight resume’ (IR) are impressive. For one thing, Oregon State has admitted and enrolled more students who don’t test well and more students of color than in the past…. …the school has found that there is a direct correlation between higher scores on the Insight Resume and retention rates. In other words, the students who score well on the IR are exactly those students who stay in college and are thus more likely to graduate…. …Oregon State’s development and use of the IR provides evidence matching what teachers know, that determination and hard work are as important (if not more important) to success in school as test scores.”

Comment: An excellent way to determine the applicant’s personality and the applicant’s ability to write. Challenging questions. I would be hard pressed to answer them and I am 74 years old. And in no more than 100 words. I think this approach to college admissions is great. On the other hand, I’m wondering how OSU admissions people rate the answers. RayS.

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