New Index Will Score Graduate Students' Personality Traits
By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
July 10, 2009
The Educational Testing Service wanted to help graduate school applicants prove they are more than a set of test scores. So it developed a tool to rate students across a broad sweep of traits -- creativity, teamwork, integrity -- that admission tests don't measure.
The Personal Potential Index, unveiled this week, looks suspiciously like another set of scores. An applicant's personality is distilled into six traits, and the applicant is rated on each of them by various professors and former supervisors on a scale of 1 to 5...
The index asks professors to log onto a Web site and rate a student on such skills as "Works well in group settings" and "Accepts feedback without getting defensive." The scale is tailored to force tough choices: Is the student in the top 1 percent of "truly exceptional" human beings, in the top 5 percent of outstanding scholars or merely above average?
Responses are converted into numerical scores, then averaged into ratings in knowledge and creativity, communication skills, teamwork, resilience, planning and organization, and ethics and integrity. Each applicant also gets an overall rating.
Paul Karrer, who graduated from American University in May with a master's degree in public policy, said the index sounds like an improvement over the tradition of collecting letters from professors...