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Purposeful Alignment to help guide life choices

Published:Sunday | August 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM

KINGSTON:Kingston College (KC) student, Kadeem Campbell, who achieved 11 grade ones in his 2014 CSEC examinations, said while growing up, he wanted to be like Batman. It just so happens that he may not be far from the truth.

As September pounces upon us and the joys and tears of external examination results are trending, thousands of persons are considering their next academic step. While some have their journey all mapped out, others a mere outline, and many more oblivious of which direction to take - one thing is certain: transition is impending.

Transitioning, Dr Fitz Russel explained, does not have to be a scary or Herculean ordeal. "It is possible to transition purposefully. The key is aligning natural strengths, personality and characteristics to subject/job choice," Dr Russell, former assistant chief education officer in the Ministry of Education, and noted psychometrician and researcher, explained.

"Sadly, many people, especially students, experience a great deal of frustration, having chosen for themselves or parents and/or schools choosing for them, academic courses and a particular career direction to which they do not have the natural talent to excel. And that is the problem. Therefore, you find that when talent is not aligned with the right scholastic courses, school or job, it can sometimes manifest as failure, consistently low grades, children who are disengaged from the learning process, maladaptive behaviour, increased absenteeism and persons frequently changing their course of study or not completing it," Russel continued.

seven-year research

It was these findings that precipitated a seven-year research by the Trevor Hamilton-led team which designed a Jamaican-oriented, hybrid psychometric measurement tool to aid students, individuals, companies and schools in career, human resource, and curriculum decision-making along pathways according to individuals' talents. The programme, aptly named Purposeful Alignment, utilises a strength-based approach aligning individuals' characteristics and personalities to their life choices - this process being a critical success factor in achieving top performance. It also combines globally tried and proven psychometric measurements, Jamaican behavioural norming, talent assessment technologies and human resource performance measurement technologies supported by a large database derived from socio-economic realities.

A member of the Champion 2014 Schools' Challenge Quiz Team, Kadeem Campbell, and his teammates, were recipients of complimentary Purposeful Alignment assessments courtesy of of Trevor Hamilton & Associates Centre for Excellence. "I was quite unsure about what direction I wanted to go in. I like the sciences, so I chose all the sciences [at CSEC], but also did history, social studies, IT and French, so I would have options. When Deer explained that the test would help to direct a career choice based on my personality, I was eager," Campbell said.

"With Purposeful Alignment, we are able to help persons understand their natural talents/strengths and provide supporting techniques for individuals' capacity building, which then influences realistic goal-setting and expectations for self," Dr Ainsley Deer, Russel's colleague, explained.

After completing two multiple choice tests, one assessing his inclination to certain tasks and the other his personality, Campbell said a report was generated which he met with Deer to discuss. "He said I scored high in various interests, but I was highest in control and biology. That means my personality is more suited for careers where I can be in control like being a police officer or soldier; and biology means areas related to the sciences. I was a little surprised about the control part," Campbell admitted.

As he moves to sixth form, Purposeful Alignment has helped him to focus his choices and also removed doubt about which subjects to select. "I will be doing the sciences and maths. I'm thinking about medicine. I like the whole idea of creating something new, discovering stuff to help develop the human race. I want to invent things, medicines," the 17-year-old said.

This was no surprise to mom, Dianne Campbell. "At first, he was saying he wanted to do medicine, then a year or so ago, he wasn't sure what his direction would be. Based on his results, medicine is one of the areas he is leaning towards. The test also revealed some areas that he is weak in and will help him to improve on those. Purposeful Alignment helped him to see himself. It will definitely positively impact him going forward," Campbell said.

Purposeful Alignment is administered by Dr Fitz Russel, renowned psychometrician and statistician; Dr Ainsley Deer, a leading expert in psychometric applications, training, HR, and talent management; and Dr Trevor Hamilton, an international management consultant whose combined experience spans multinational organisations and education systems in Jamaica, United States, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean.