What is your whY?


What is your whY?

Sitting in a local school meeting this week, a high school principal shared an exercise he recently used with his department heads. Without going into too much detail, he gave the teachers a test in order to experience what students go through every day. His goal was to remind them to be mindful of why they assess students. The “why” of assessments is to see if students have learned the important information in a given course or whether they have mastered a skill set. Understanding the why naturally leads to important thinking about the how. How do we teach? How do we assess? What methods do we use to teach and assess?

I recalled how many times in the last few weeks I asked my clients the very the same thing. It is that time of year at CES when we renew contracts and dive into evaluation plans. When I find us going down the rabbit hole of methods and methodology, I stop and ask that very same question- What is our why?

What do we really want to know? Why do we really want to know this? And the often overlooked but oh-so-important question – What are we going to do with this information?

It’s comforting to know that when we stop to answer, the “What is our why?” the clouds tend to part, anxiety dissipates, and we gain clarity of how we should proceed.

So, if you find yourself confused in designing the next step of your intervention or your evaluation, remember these five key questions:

What is our why?
What do we really want to know?
Who wants to know this?
Why is this important?
How are we going to use this information?

Wishing you the happiest of seasons and success and clarity in the New Year! Now go find your WHY.