The entire day, masterfully set up by Pam and Erin, took the form of a Design Challenge, ending with a two-hour facilitated session that challenged teams, which were composed of a mixture of students, teachers and college representatives to unpack what a transcript is supposed to do: “convey a mastery of learning.” Teams wrestled with what it means to demonstrate learning and let themselves run free to think about times where they felt accomplished or learned in a specific domain. Teams explored the stories around receiving the boy/girl scout badge or a trophy and then also stories about moments where learning went “unnoticed” by teachers, peers and family. Through empathy, teams uncovered insights about demonstrations of learning that helped in the discovery of possible cracks in the way we currently think about a transcript. This empathy work paved the way for groups experimenting with solutions that didn’t necessarily fit on one page or consist of only letters A, B, C, F – but instead explored ideas like apps, vlogs and ways for users to share learning in a collaborative, fun and engaging way.
We didn’t redesign the transcript today, but we did something far better. Through Pam and Erin’s leadership, we began bridging the gap between our users and our design. Collectively, we also pushed the envelope on what a transcript could be, and whether a transcript is even enough to share the complex and exciting stories of the inquiries, innovations, and impacts of our students. There is so much more work to be done in terms of unpacking all the insights, designs, ideas, pain points, and opportunities that our participants uncovered today, which is so exciting! Who better to write that story than Mount Vernon with the help and expertise of some of the most skilled college admissions counselors? Thank you MIT, Boston University, Sewanee, George Washington, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Washington University, Georgia Tech, and Lehigh for helping us write that story. We look forward to sharing our next iterations of the Mount Vernon transcript, so we can learn even more from your feedback. Whether the feedback leads us to small tweaks or massive overhauls, we are ready!