TCU football players participate in new performance assessment test

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Student-athletes took the Aptus performance test Monday night, July 8, 2013, in the Four Sevens Team Room of Amon G. Carter Stadium. (Chloe Coleman/TCU 360) J. Craig Flowers, executive vice president of Aptus, speaks at TCU's campus on July 8, 2013. (Chloe Coleman/TCU 360)

A TCU alum returned to campus Monday night to give his company’s behavior assessment test to a group of TCU football players to help better understand the players' cognitive processes.

J. Craig Flowers, retired U.S. Army colonel and TCU alum, is the executive vice president of Aptus Sports, a company that is dedicated to “developing innovative interactive assessment applications.” He said his assesment is made so that teachers, coaches and mentors can best determine how student-athletes learn.

A group of TCU football players participated in the iPad-administered assessment Monday night. Flowers, a former TCU baseball player, said that the use of technology in the assessment is crucial.

“This current generation is one of the most talented ones in history, but it’s also one of the most distracted,” Flowers said. “We’re meeting them on a platform that they already use every day.”

There is not a single multiple-choice or true/false question on the assessment, Flowers said. The assessment instead gives out 10 different interactive assignments which on average take 30 minutes to answer. Flowers said the assessment tests their abilities similarly to a video game.

“The word ‘test’ is taboo -- we prefer ‘experience’ instead,” Flowers said.

TCU sports information director Mark Cohen said the student-athletes who took the assessment are not allowed to comment on it.

Head football coach Gary Patterson said that having his players take the assessment would be a way for him to make sure that the players know how to be better athletes and better students, and said that he had confidence in the Aptus assessment.

According to Aptus’s website, NFL teams and other NCAA teams such as Rice University have already taken the assessment. Flowers said that some teams have taken the assessment, but don't want the public to know due to a fear of losing a competitive edge. He also said that future partnerships with other NCAA teams are in the works, including teams in the SEC, Conference USA and the Big 12.

“We’re working with teams in the SEC, the Big 12, Conference USA,” Flowers said.

Flowers said that his comapny will release Aptus Universal, a non-athletic focused assesment which will be available for “students, educators, the armed forces and big corporations,” in August.

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