Shaped by discussions among educational leaders across the nation, the Character Collaborative is national in scope and includes 74 member organizations and 200 active participants. The Collaborative includes important constituencies committed to our common goal, including college and independent school admission directors, school placement directors, representatives of leading educational associations, educational reformers, standardized testing experts, independent educational counselors, researchers, etc.
We believe that the admission process and admission decisions are complex, play out over many years, and involve people across many arenas and educational levels. There is much at stake for students, parents, schools, colleges, and our nation. Now, with the impact of COVID-19, renewed focus on access and equity, and rapid alteration of the testing world, there is an accelerated movement toward holistic admission, including the elevation of character attributes. For those who share this goal and are not members, we invite your involvement in our work. The website provides information on how to join the Character Collaborative.
This year’s annual meeting of the Collaborative, Admission Assessment in a Changing World: Character Matters, took place on October 6-7, 2020 and included 220 participants from across the nation. The program focused on the unique and complex challenges of the coming year and beyond and included: Fireside Chats with Angela Duckworth and Angel Pérez; panels of admission leaders; workshops on A New Selection Paradigm and Incorporating a New Paradigm into the Ethos of Schools and Colleges. The forthcoming report of the meeting will focus on concrete steps for advancing holistic admission and how character attributes can be integrated into the assessment process.
The intended outcome of our work is to develop and disseminate strategies, materials and practices that elevate character attributes in the admission equation, which we believe will lead to the deepening of these characteristics throughout the school experience and in life.
Toward this end, we recommend the recently published “Character Assessment in College Admission: A Guide to Best Practices“ by the Making Caring Common project at Harvard (August 2020). The Collaborative contributed to this effort and will build on the report — and the outcomes of the Collaborative’s recent annual meeting — to produce professional development training modules over the coming year. These online resources will available nationally to colleges and schools.