The Measurement of Success

I have been thinking a lot about this lately. How do you measure whether a student is successful in your class, at your school, etc.?

-Is it their quarter average?

-Is it their cumulative G.P.A?

-Is it their score on AP Tests?

-Is it their SAT scores?

-Is it their college acceptance list?

A student’s success should be based on so much more than these things and yet, I continue to hear public and private schools sharing these stats as if they are the true measurement of the cumulative success of its students. Is it because the numbers are easy to tabulate? Is it what people want to hear? It really bothers me. (And I’m a math teacher…numbers and statistics usually make me happy!)

In my opinion, the most “successful” students don’t necessarily have the highest quarter average, GPA, SAT score, and don’t necessarily take the AP test. A successful student is one who loves to learn and loves coming to class each day. It’s a student who isn’t just concerned about what’s on “the test” (and yet, this is what we (myself included) measure them with).  It’s a student who goes beyond the assignment because she was so excited about it. It’s a student who has the mental toughness to stick with a problem and experience that sense of pride because all the hard work was worth it! It’s a student who can think “out of the box”. It’s a student who has surpassed the  personal goals she set for herself.

If I can cultivate this in my students, I would say I have been successful. Wouldn’t you?  If a school culture cultivates this in its students, wouldn’t you say it is successful? But…how do you “measure” these things? How do you communicate/market this kind of success?  It makes me sad that it all comes down to the numbers…

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