We Will Not Let Exam Results Decide Our Fate

by Carla Johnson on April 28th, 2013

Carla JohnsonIn  my first year of teaching, I attended a workshop given by professors who had just finished a huge education research project. They had been looking for a connection between school grades and success in the larger world. What they found, many of us already know. There is no connection between achievement in school and achievement outside school. Yes, for some people there is a strong connection – professors, teachers, lawyers, and a few others – but for the majority of us, there is no connection.

We all know people who barely made it through school, struggled to get good grades, were told repeatedly they were lazy or unmotivated, and yet found themselves truly excelling outside of school. They found a really great job or made a fortune with own business. We also know people who were the top of their class in school, were adored by their teachers, told they could do anything they wanted to do, but struggled to make smart decisions outside school.

So the next time the press publishes the data for the schools in your community and the next time a group like the Fraser Institute put all those results on a grading scale, please think critically about it and remember this. Students are so much more than their grades. They are more than their report cards. They have possibility beyond all of it. All students love education, but only a fraction of them love school. All those numbers and rating scales and the buzz that surrounds it doesn’t mean all that much.

This young poet-artist says it so well.


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