Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What is Strengths Explorer?

In TeamMates, we utilize two different CliftonStrengths platforms, StrengthsQuest and Strengths Explorer. We have spent the last year discussing one by one the 34 StrengthsQuest themes. Over this summer, we are going to dive into each of the Strengths Explorer Themes. Before we begin, we wanted to spend a week discussing what Strengths Explorer is for those who are unfamiliar.
Strengths Explorer is a simplified version of CliftonStrengths, aimed at younger individuals.

In TeamMates, we utilize SE with 3rd through 8th graders. The assessment itself is much shorter than StrengthsQuest, only taking 15-30 minutes, on average. The questions have easier language and the assessment itself is not timed, making this assessment accessible and inclusive to all students.    
Once the student is finished taking SE, they receive their Top 3 of 10 themes. These 10 themes were chosen by the Gallup Education department in the formation of Strengths Explorer. They are based on more dominant theme patterns within the 34 themes of CliftonStrengths. The 10 Strengths Explorer Themes are: Achieving, Caring, Competing, Confidence, Dependability, Discoverer, Future Thinker, Organizer, Presence, and Relating.

The online resources are also a bit different compared to other CliftonStrengths platforms. Strengths Explorer individuals receive a code, which then becomes their login in the future. They type this code in at the SE website here to first take the assessment then each time again to access resources. The online resources include the short and long definitions of the themes as well as a workbook with interesting and enlightening exercises to help students recognize their strengths. The SE website also has parent and educator resources available to help adults in the youth’s life understand the unique strengths of the youth.

Once a student reaches 9th grade in TeamMates, they take StrengthsQuest. Often we are asked what the correlation is between a student’s SE and SQ results. There is no direct connection between these results, but often we see some patterns between the two results. For example, a student may have Relating in their top 3, which may not directly become Relator in their StrengthsQuest results; it could also become Empathy, Includer, Woo, or another strength. The connection between the two assessments grow stronger, like any strengths do, if the student has a positive adult in their life that is helping them learn and recognize their strengths in action.

Knowing the individual strengths of a young person has shown to have profound impact on the engagement, hope, well-being and success of young people. Because of this, many school districts are investing in CliftonStrengths for all their students. This gives school personnel, teachers, and parents the tools to better understand the young person in their life. If you want to read more about the impact and research behind Strengths Explorer, click here to access Gallup’s technical report.

Help other readers out! If you are a mentor or coordinator who has worked with Strengths Explorer before, let us know! Comment and share you experience with your mentee. What age is your mentee? What are the SE themes? How do you use it in your mentoring relationship? How have you seen development and growth of your mentee from knowing their SE themes? 


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