To this point, Mr. Minkel writes, “One of the most insidious results of the testing madness afflicting education has been an emphasis on speeding toward a particular outcome—a reading level, a cut score—without taking the time to ask what is sacrificed in that rush.” Academic growth is the most important aspect of a child’s learning, but education has morphed into race of achieving certain milestones without regarding the path to that achievement or fostering academic enjoyment.
In the place of this academic competition, Mr. Minkel suggest two solutions:
- Focus on the path, not just the destination
- Honor growth above proficiency
Celebration of incremental milestones is important in a student’s development in academia. High test scores are not always reflective of the growth, of the small changes certain students have made to become better students. According to Mr. Minkel, “When we celebrated their perseverance and hard work, I had children stand and be applauded not according to how high their score was, but according to how much growth they had made.” In a nutshell, we are “the workers of gradual miracles,” but “the work of sustaining a gradual miracle requires patience.”
I encourage our readers to peruse Mr. Minkel story, which is linked above, and reflect on the message. As educators, we know the flurry of assessments and standardized proficiencies can sometimes take precedence, but remembering why we love to learn and why we love to teach is crucial to our roles.
-Melissa Hoppie, Graduate Student Researcher