ISEA: Personality Test

Chris McNutt
June 14, 2022

Much of our perspective on teaching is related to the type of student that we were in school. Read the following five “types” of students and decide which category best suits you. Obviously, this is a drastic oversimplification and you may fit into multiple categories, or none. You will be able to expand on these ideas later in this activity.

Academically Centered

You were very focused on performing well according to school standards. Sometimes, you may have been labelled as the “teacher’s pet” and overall, you really enjoyed your school experience.


According to research by Dr. William Damon, 25% of students are disengaged. You felt that there were little to no interests, inside or outside of school, that interested you. You saw little care for anything outside of yourself. Your primary focus was getting through the day.

Purpose Centered

According to research by Dr. William Damon, 20% of students are purposeful. You felt highly connected to something and understood the greater, overarching plan for getting there. You were constantly driven to succeed in some way, shape, or form. Importantly, this did not necessarily have to be school related.


You performed “okay” in school and went through the motions. You may have gone to college purely through what Dr. William Deresiewicz calls “zombification” - going through the motions just because it was assumed you’d do so. There wasn’t necessarily an overarching plan, you just did what you needed to do based on perceived expectations.


You were focused on being academically centered, or at least wanted to succeed in school, but the structure of school made it difficult for you to succeed in some way. Perhaps courses weren’t set up in a way that made sense to you, or there was a barrier in how information was presented.

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Chris McNutt
Chris McNutt is the co-founder and executive director of Human Restoration Project, a nonprofit organization focused on student engagement, well-being, and motivation. His work centers on realizing systems-based change, examining how progressive pedagogical shifts (e.g. PBL, ungrading) reimagine school to best suit the needs of students and teachers alike. He was a public high school digital media & design educator who focused on experiential learning, portfolio-driven assessment, and community involvement.
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