What does that word mean to you? Obviously, the word assessment can invoke different reactions and emotions based on your own personal experiences. Maybe you work in the educational sector and correlate that word to standardized testing. (Wait – aren’t we on summer break?! Why would I bring that up now?!) Maybe the word assessment made you cringe as you related it to the value of your home or property (which, I’m assuming, was valued at a higher rate several years ago.) I would be surprised if you smiled and jumped up with glee at the mention of that word.
Working with elementary aged students, we use the word assessment quite often. We assess academic skills, social skills, knowledge, behavior. Sometimes we do formal assessment, like a paper/pencil test. Other times we do informal assessment, jotting down notes we want to remember about what students are doing. As professionals, we receive our own assessments from our principals or district leaders. It seems like wherever we go, or whatever we do, someone is being assessed for something.
My dad knows all too well the meaning of assessment. In order for him to advance in his line of work, he has to complete online assessments to earn various levels of certification. While this may not seem like a big deal to some, let me clarify… IT. IS. A. BIG. DEAL. I can barely lift his study manual with one hand, it’s so enormous. Each of his assessments require a passing score and many assessments only allow you to have a limited number of attempts. Run out of attempts and you have to start the process all over from the beginning. Is it a coincidence that assess rhymes with stress?
My dad reached the pinnacle of stress with this last round of assessments. Missing the cut-off score by one question does nothing to boost the ego or the paycheck. In fact, my fun-loving, always jovial dad started to disengage from the family when assessments would approach. “Don’t try to call, because I might not answer.” “I can’t go there, I need to study.” Need to… STUDY? Are you kidding me? How old are you anyway, Pappy?
Old enough to know that assessments matter.
Today I received the jubilant news that my dad, the guy who welcomed me into this world at the mere age of 19, had passed his final assessment to receive his certification in EPIC. These are the things dreams are made of! Celebrate good times, come on! Let’s celebrate!
Without a moment’s hesitation, I went to the store and picked up a few items that I knew would make my dad smile, then I left them on his porch while he was at work.
Yep, balloons and beer. Welcome back to the real world, Pappy. Welcome back. We have missed you! 🙂
The next time you hear of someone reaching a milestone or completing a goal, take a moment from your day to share in the celebration. You might be surprised how good it makes you feel, too!