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Douglas County schools pilot color-coded student personality tests

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