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SAT Score Triage

March 30, 2012

triage   [tree-ahzh]  noun
   1.the process of sorting victims, as of a battle or disaster, to determine medical priority in order to increase the number of survivors.
   2.the determination of priorities for action in an emergency.

1925–30;  < French:  sorting, equivalent to tri ( er ) to sort ( see try) + -age -age

March SAT scores are back. In your household, their return has been the cause of (choose all that apply):
a. unbridled jubilation
b. grave concern, bordering on hysteria
c. ambivalence, uncertainty and/or confusion

In response you should:

If you selected (a): Laud effort, not scores. Let’s reinforces internal locus of control and an adaptive mindset. What’s that mean, you ask? For more, read Carol Dweck's Mindset. If you praise outcome when things go well and effort when things go poorly, your kids will sniff out that hypocrisy in a heartbeat. Laud effort not scores. Oh, and buy your kid an ice cream cone.

If you selected (b):  Do not catastrophize. Unexpected difficulties are an opportunities. Again, laud effort. Play "master facilitator" to see wherein the difficulties lie and to chart a path of constructive actions. That is, ask non-judgmental questions that lead to an--not necessarily your--acceptable understanding of the problem and viable solution. Or, outsource that job to someone else. Do not declare or steer to a predetermined solution. For more, read Fostering Resilience by Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg.

If you selected (c): Laud effort. Even "terrible" outcomes generally have meaningful inputs of effort. Acknowledge that. Play master facilitator (or, again outsource) to assess what the scores mean, whether they are “enough” or "good" for this test-taker. If yes, proceed to step (a).  If no, proceed to step (b). 

Repeat these steps as necessary. With time, you and your children should get to a successful outcome. And, ice cream!



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