The other day I ran into a gentleman who is one of the administrators at the school my two boys will attending next year. I introduced myself and let him know my boys would be attending the school he works at next year. The first thing he said is that it’s a good school and that the test scores are “good”. I don’t mean to sound flippant but this totally bummed me out. Why was this the first and pretty much only thing he put forth as measure of the school? I’m sorry but I could really care less about test scores. Why didn’t he tell me about the blog the Spanish teacher has created so her students can extend the learning that goes on in the classroom at home. Or that the school was live streaming the 2nd grade musical celebration? Or the fact that the specialist teachers have created their own website to help parents feel connected to the awesome things they do… or that the school is in its second year of focusing on STEM skills in a STEM lab… or that they have an after school robotics club… and I’m sure I could go on and on. Sigh….
I guess my point is why not showcase the things schools are doing that really make a difference in the lives of our students. The type of things that maybe a single score on a single test can’t measure. Standardized tests are very good at measuring a very narrow band of skills. What goes on at school is the opposite of narrow. It touches almost every aspect of a young persons life. We need to recognize this reality and showcase the things we do in schools to meet the diverse needs of our students. We can’t keep saying that we shouldn’t focus solely on test scores and then provide nothing else as a measure of success. We need to be thinking about how we (parents, teachers, students) can accurately represent and disseminate what schools truly accomplish.
Not sure why but when I was jotting down this post this Ted talk from Sir Ken Robinson popped in my head. You’ve probably already seen it but if not enjoy!