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Douglas County schools pilot color-coded student personality tests

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Colors have taken on a new meaning in the Douglas County School District.

Children are not just learning about the vibrant green hue that comes from mixing yellow and blue on a color wheel. They are using colors to describe the way they think, behave and learn.

The 65,000-student school district is piloting a program at 14 campuses in which sixth-graders answer 84 questions that include how comfortable they are with switching back and forth between tasks, whether they will start a project before they have a plan and if they worry about how their actions affect others.

Based on their answers, students get a color-coded profile that outlines their preferred way of thinking by assigning percentages to four categories: social, structural, conceptual and analytical.

Summit View Elementary School fifth-grader Kelli Ell is primarily green, a structural thinker, which means she is practical, likes guidelines and prefers a hands-on approach.

“It says that I’m a lot of green, but I think that I’m a little less because sometimes my desk inside gets a little messy,” she said.

District officials said the program, which was developed by a company called Emergenetics International, offers an innovative tool for teachers to better communicate with children and to craft lessons that reflect different learning styles.

Kathy Reoh, a fourth-grade teacher at Summit View, said she uses the profiles to tailor her teaching approach in a way that honors her students’ thinking styles.

“Up until this point, when I opened a student’s file, the only data I had was tests and some teacher’s notes to show me who these kids are,” Reoh said. “This is who the kids really are. This gives me a fresh approach on how I can reach them and help them to learn more.”

The Douglas County School District invested more than $86,000 in the program for children. The district has spent more than $176,000 since 2009 on adult profiles, which CLICK TO READ ON

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Comments
  • comment avatar Laura August 28, 2013

    As a former teacher I can tell you for a FACT that kids learn in different ways. Yes they need to learn those skills, but the WAY in which kids learn them BEST varies from kid to kid — not everyone learns by drill and repeat, or lecture, or hands on, etc.

  • comment avatar Joy August 28, 2013

    I’ve been thinking about this. Like Myers-Briggs, it gives self guidance. However, at a young age, children are still trying to define themselves. I’d like to see those 84 questions.

  • comment avatar Shannon August 28, 2013

    As a teacher, I think knowing more about how my students learn and think is a good thing. It allows me to differentiate better for each style so they can learn math, spelling, and writing. When you have 30 kids in your class, it’s difficult to individualize their educations, but this test gives you a place to start. I’m not saying it should be the only thing used to plan lessons, but it does help. Also, student awareness about how they learn is a good thing. I’m not sure why anyone would think it was a bad thing to know more about yourself as a learner.

  • comment avatar Emily August 28, 2013

    I’ve seen varying examples of this color/personality theory work well in businesses. I do think we have to give some credence to different learning personalities and if it’s labeled by “color” so be it. However, I odn’t think any child should ever be defined by any kind of label when it comes to education…personality, perceived intelligence, income level, race, gender, home life, anything. Every kid is capable of learning and every kid is a blend of all these colors/personalities.

  • comment avatar Patrica August 28, 2013

    In a perfect world this would be helpful but right now there are so many other priorities in this district that need to be addressed first. The November election can’t get here soon enough!

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