MyScore discovers how students are feeling about themselves, using the 5C’s. That is precious knowledge.
As we look at the results for a school population, we notice for instance in this mid- year of 2023, there has been growth in Confidence and Collaboration and a marked decline in Courage. Why is that so?
We can get curious as to why that might be, or put it down to a simple mid-year slump. Narrative Design will tell us that in the middle is where things get complicated. But there is always the urge to go deeper. What is the reason behind the changes? It is a self-assessment about emotions and emotions do not always have reasons we can put our hand on.
If we were looking for validating the data, and relating it to other measures of change, we might discover significant trends that could be addressed. It could be that there was a school shooting nearby, or that there was a bad snow storm, or it could be that a certain population is suffering economic hardship. Knowing all that might help the design of an intervention or shift a priority in policy. But that is not what MyScore is about. We are not aiming to shift the external reality. We take seriously the inner world of our students. With a simple key, a small card with 5 simple questions, we unlock a profound world of mystery.
MyScore was first designed for an AmeriCorps member and the team they work with to get a sense of a student’s ‘readiness to learn,” and to honor that student’s act of self-knowing in the moment that they know it. It is truly an SEL instrument. It is not trying to re-engineer the school system. Some will dismiss it because it is too subjective, and that it is too unreliable because it cannot be validated or replicated Yet, SEL research is telling us again and again that the view of the student from the inside is what is shaping their chances of success in the enterprise of learning on the outside. We better pay respect to that data.
We can launch further exploration if we wanted to. For instance, the one C that is always predictably low is Curiosity- How Excited are you about Learning? It might be good to know if a low score of 1 or 2 applies to learning in Math or learning at home or learning in general. But what if we know? The point of MyScore is that in this moment, the student says they are not excited about learning. How do we respond to that in the moment? The student could even be a good student passing with good grades, or come from a family with plenty of resources.
The inner reality does not always have to have a correlative with external reality. What we want to be able to deal with is the force field of emotions surrounding the student’s sense of learning. That subjectivity is objectively significant on its own. It does not have to push us to find a reason outside of that. We can engage in a one on one conversation but even there, the student interpretation of why they scored what they scored is privileged. Learning how to know oneself is the prerequisite of all deep knowing. Why don’t we educate for that?
What we are honoring here is the internal reality of the student’s experience of education as a life project. The school might want to know if students are less confident in math than they are in English, but they have other resources and sources of evidence to discover that. MyScore is not there to serve the schools. It is there to serve the student.
MyScore is for the us to know what the student knows. It is not permission for us to go outside of that as if the student scoring a 1 on courage- how do you cope when things get hard? is only saying that because he has a difficult home life. The difficult home life is salient to the environment that he or she has to cope with, or even the world that the student is internalizing, but the subjective feeling of hopelessness or helplessness on its own is objectively significant. We as SEL coaches must be trained to deal with that. And we must invest in that student so they can better manage or cope or find deeper resources to cope with the difficult family life. The whole point is empowering the student, not empowering the social service to have an investigation. That might be necessary for sure, but that is not what we see MyScore being for.
We all know how our internal life can take on a reality all of its own. It has the potential to lift off from earthly moorings and become like magical fiction. Regardless, strong feelings feel real. They are real. We tragically learn that lesson when an ostensibly successful student commits suicide and no one even suspected what inner drama was going on. No one knew. But then, no one asked.
MyScore is our invitation to the students we serve and whose trust we have won, to privilege us with a window into their inner world. With that invitation and response, we are empowered to support their journey of self-growth, to believe more in me. That quest transcends one’s career at school or college. It is the quest of a lifetime. And it is not just a student journey. It is one we are all on.