In March 2018, under the leadership of director John Adriaenssens and psychologist Laura Verbert, FairServices embarked on a large scale research project to determine how to best identify girls for their planned scholarship program. We ultimately discovered that among poor families in Cusco, character and personality traits are better indicators of future success than measured intelligence or previous school results. We also found that in Cusco, private high schools are not necessarily more effective than public high schools when it comes to the future success of students. We culminated the research phase when we identified the High School Personality Questionnaire (HSPQ) as the test that would provide us with the most accurate results. The HSPQ test uses a variety of questions to evaluate participants on the personality traits of warmth, intelligence, emotional stability, excitability, dominance, cheerfulness, conformity, boldness, sensitivity, withdrawal, apprehension, self-sufficiency, self-discipline, and tension. The results of these personality scores can be further interpreted to measure an individual's big five personality traits, which are extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness to experience, and emotional stability. We found that of these five traits, the three factors most related to a successful academic career are conscientiousness, openness to experience, and emotional stability.
The Intake Procedure
We proceeded to reach out to four local public high schools and administered over 2,200 HSPQ tests to 1st and 2nd graders (ages 11-13). After feeding the data and double checking it, we analyzed it to make our initial selections. With reference numbers for the big five personality traits in hand, we identified the girls that scored in the 55th percentile or higher for all three of the factors that we mentioned earlier as the ones most related to a successful academic career. After conducting socioeconomic status assessments with home visits, we launched the program Chaska in October 2018 with eighteen fantastic girls. Due to our tremendous success so far, we plan to continue utilizing this intake method to identify and select our stars. However, as we plan to expand the program to begin admitting younger girls as well, we will need to tweak this procedure and use methods and tests tailored more towards those age groups.