Assessment Resources

Character Skills Snapshot (CSS)

Because Character Matters

The Character Skills Snapshot

A student’s character deserves the same attention as his or her cognitive ability in the assessment process. The Enrollment Management Association’s testing and research team is pleased to announce the fall 2017 release of the Character Skills Snapshot (formerly the Character Skills Assessment).

This release builds upon extensive research by our Think Tank on the Future of Assessment, collaboration with numerous independent school enrollment leaders (the “G32+ schools”), and statistical analysis performed by both The Enrollment Management Association (EMA) and the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The Character Skills Snapshot is a 30-minute online evaluation of character skills currently not measured by cognitive standardized testing.

The Character Skills Snapshot offers a transformative opportunity for the way you manage the admission process, communicate the value of your school, and shape your student communities. A supplement to cognitive measures, the Character Skills Snapshot reports on the character qualities, or “non-cognitive” attributes, of individual student applicants.The richer data provided by a combination of cognitive plus character skills will allow a fuller, more complete view of the whole child.

The Character Skills Snapshot was designed to measure eight essential character skills deemed prevalent among independent school missions, and those which schools sought to nurture in their students: resilience, open-mindedness, responsibility, teamwork, social awareness, self-control, intellectual curiosity, and initiative.

Field trials of the assessment were conducted over the past two years, with more than 11,000 students (including students applying to independent schools as well as those enrolled in the G32+ schools) completing the assessment. Additionally, user testing was conducted with parents to gain feedback on the design and content elements of the score report, as well as the assessment itself. 

The Character Skills Snapshot is available to members of The Enrollment Management Association, with an initial release in September 2017 and a full-scale release in fall 2018. Members can opt in to use the Character Skills Snapshot during the spring 2017 member renewal process. 

Character Skills Snapshot FAQ

Download the CSS FAQ PDF

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