In Greek, Charassein means to engrave, scratch, or etch and is the root of the English word character.
The Character Assessment Initiative (Charassein) is a collaborative research effort aimed to improve the ways scholars measure character skills and to better understand how character skills are developed. In particular, we are currently researching the possibilities of two innovative approaches to obtain improved measures of character skills: (1) anchoring vignettes methods for correcting self-reports of character skills and (2) measures based on response patterns in surveys as behavioral tasks that measure character skills. In addition, we are investigating the intergenerational transmission of character skills and how they might be shaped by different school experiences.
Social science is drawing upon the insights of personality psychology. Research in economics and education reveals that character skills such as grit and self-regulation are important to well-being. However, less is known about how character skills can be developed. Researchers also face the challenge of how character skills can be measured. The use of self-reported surveys to measure character skills are known to have serious limitations.
Charassein is based in the University of Arkansas’ Department of Education Reform. We make original research, data, and measurement tools for character skills research available on our website.