Formation without clear behavioral success indicators is formation that cannot be measured. In the Ateneo de Davao Senior High School (ADDU SHS), we are clear about the kind of students we want to raise in partnership with their families – Christ-centered (or “God-centered” for non-Christians) young men and women who have an informed faith that manifest in the care for creation, cultural sensitivity, interreligious dialogue and social justice that leads to the common good.
While we concede that these goals may not always be reached within the 2-year period of their senior high school (but may likely manifest in their future decisions), we still find it important to set indicators that measure their progress in their pursuit of becoming persons-for-others, uniquely adept at responding to the issues and concerns of the world and particularly the Philippines, but more specifically, Mindanao.
Quality Assurance Tools: Qualitative Measurements
The Family Conference
Upon admission to the ADDU Senior High School, an intimate yet standardized conference is held among the learner, his or her parents and a member of the ADDU SHS faculty. The Family Conference upon entry for the two main reasons. It profiles the student and their families vis-a-vis the Mission and Vision of ADDU. We get to see how close or how far they are in our vision of the profile of a graduate of the ADDU SHS.
Moreover, the Family Conference is the school’s opportunity to introduce and share with the learner’s family our formation thrusts. For example, if we see that many of the learners’ families who are Catholic in faith, do not pray the rosary, then this data provides a challenge to the school’s promotion of the devotion and dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the practice of praying using the rosary.
The Family Conference is also a venue to clarify shared responsibilities between the school and the home in the formation of the learner.
In the Family Conference, the new learner also sets his or her personal goals for the next two years and thus commits to the necessary steps to achieving them.
Like a diamond in the rough, each new learner is valued and given special attention in this activity, true to the Jesuit ideal of cura personalis alumnorum (personal care for the student/ learner). The parents are also encouraged to involve themselves in the ministry of the school by being welcomed as an integral part of the community.
Note: If the learner is from the ADDU Junior High School and has been subjected to the Family Conference upon entry in Grade 7, the learner will not need the Family Conference, but will undergo the Exit Interview in Grade 12.
The Exit Interview
Before graduation, each student is called for an exit interview with a member of the ADDU SHS faculty. Looking back at his or her experience of the initial family conference years ago, the student sets out to assess his or her own formation growth through a guided, standardized dialogue with a faculty member, who may also have been his or her teacher at one point or another.
The Exit interview becomes the basis for our own introspection as a school.
Here we will see how we have been successful (or, alternatively, how we have failed) at forming this diamond in the rough into the kind of young person the Ateneo envisioned him or her to be.
Comparative data from the Exit Interviews and the Family Conferences in turn helps the entire school community to seek ways of improving our programs to address gaps in formation and to enhance successful interventions.
Quality Assurance Tool: Quantitative Measurement
The Developmental Assets Profile
The Developmental Assets Profile (DAP) framework is the pioneering work of Peter L. Benson, Ph.D. who, through exhaustive social science research, sought to understand the lives, beliefs and values of young people. He was the President of the Search Institute in the early 1990s when the organization developed a survey that hoped to identify the kinds of social support and psychological strengths young people need to succeed in life and avoid risky, unhealthy behavior. Since then, the DAP survey has been administered to over 4 million young people in the United States alone.
With written request for permission to modify the survey for local culture and context, experts in Ateneo de Manila University’s Graduate School validated a local version of the DAP. Mrs. Socorro Perpetual Escarez, one of Ateneo High School’s Guidance Counselors, used this version for her masteral thesis in 2004.
I replicated this same version in one of my classes leading to a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies in 2013 and 2016. Through longitudinal research, the same 40 developmental assets remain crucial in ensuring the success and healthy choices of adolescents, as well as, identifying at risks students.
In addition, it provides the school with the knowledge of how we can best support our primary clientele – our learners.
As part of the alignment of formation programs in the Basic Education Unit of Ateneo de Davao, the Developmental Assets Profile will be used to measure the formative outcomes of our learners per grade level, particularly beginning from Grade 7 to Grade 12 for the homegrown students, and from Grade 11 – Grade 12 for new learners.
The Wellness and Testing Office
The Wellness and Testing Office shares and supports the school’s vision and mission of forming young men and women for others. By providing testing services in guidance and counseling, the WTO provides rich data on students’ lives, beliefs and values that complement academic profiles provided by their achievement in school.
Moreover, the office conducts valuable research on studying students’ academic progress and assessing their formation growth. Their involvement in faculty recruitment and employment testing also aids the school in selecting teachers with the best academic training and character suitability and potential in becoming effective formators for adolescents.
The Placement Test: The Senior High School Track Assessment
There are two principles for this Track Assessment. a) It is an assessment FOR learning: It will help our learners develop the competencies needed in their selected track. b) It is an assessment AS learning: It will give the learners feedback to improve their learning by using the results to reflect and think of ways to improve their skills.
The Track Assessment determines learners’ inclination to their selected tracks and assesses learners’ achievement, aptitude and interest matching the requirements of their track.
This is also used to provide assistance to learners who have to make a decision whether to stay or transfer to another track.
The High School Personality Questionnaire and the Mental Ability Test
The High School Personality Questionnaire (HSPQ) is a personality questionnaire that evaluates 14 personality characteristics with an in-depth self-report inventory. The HSPQ addresses Warmth, Intelligence, Emotional Stability, Excitability, Dominance, Cheerfulness, Conformity, Boldness, Sensitivity, Withdrawal, Apprehension, Self-Sufficiency, Self-Discipline, and Tension as important factors in assessing personality. The HSPQ – 14 factors will supplement the Ateneo Senior High School Entrance Test in understanding motivation in our learners.
The Mental Ability Test (MAT) measures school ability. This instrument comprises several types of verbal and non-verbal items intended to assess a wide variety of mental processes.
Although all Grade 12 students have an existing data on their intelligence level from previous tests such as HSPQ and DAP (Developmental Assets Profile), the MAT serves as their most updated measure of mental ability for purposes of college application and writing of recommendation for admission.