“You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.”
This sage advice couldn’t be more applicable than when considering one’s strengths and weaknesses in school.
Know your strengths and weakness through our various experiences, successes and difficulties
We all have a general idea of some of our more prominent strengths and weakness through our various experiences, successes and difficulties in primary and secondary school. Students, for example, can usually point out that they are better at English than math, or that they prefer vocational courses, like automotive technology, wood shop or homemaking to more academically oriented classes such as science. Read more on how to discover what most Interests you at:
While these informal personal assessments may yield some information about strengths and weaknesses, they don’t tell the whole story and are informed by a personal bias that may be related to low self-esteem or repeated failure in a particular subject area.
When evaluating your strengths and weaknesses in school it is important to take advantage of more objective assessment tools in order to get a more complete and relevant picture.
Formal, norm-referenced academic and intelligence assessments
Available for free to students through most high school and college advising center, informal interest surveys can reveal key information that may give students and advisers key information about subject interests and career goals. Formal, norm-referenced academic and intelligence assessments will provide more in depth information about a student’s specific strengths and weaknesses, including but not limited to academic performance. These tests, which must be administered by a certified diagnostician, can yield more sublime data relating to abstract and concrete reasoning skills as well as learning styles of a student.
While these tools can yield important information on a student’s specific strengths, weaknesses and skill sets, they are limited and subject to bias, as are all such single performance intelligence measures, to the students health, stress and particular life circumstances that may impede optimal performance.
Especially in situations when a learning disability or other diagnosed condition exists, intelligence assessments that use a variety of performance indicators to compensate for visual-spatial and auditory learning preferences can yield more reliable data about a student’s strengths and weaknesses in these circumstances. Some student’s strengths are muted and their weaknesses exacerbated when forced to accommodate to teaching styles that do not speak to their specific learning differences.
In any case, once a realizable assessment is complete, a multiple choice interests survey is in order. Combined with an evaluation of the student’s school portfolio and other objective criteria, such formal assessments can begin to paint a clearer picture of a student’s strengths, weaknesses and learning preferences that can help guide a student’s degree and programming choices in a post-secondary college or vocational program.