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What we measure is a reflection of what we value

In schools we measure student achievement in academics, sports and co-curricular. We measure number of admissions in an year. All this data gives you a good indication of perhaps how effective the school is. But does this indicate how successful the school is?

To measure how successful a school is, should we not be looking at some other parameters? For example, how happy or content the students and staff are in a school. Do students and staff value dignity- theirs and people they interact with, love of lifelong learning,  build citizenship, are respectful and have the right set of values. As Barbara Coloroso puts it in, ‘kids are worth it’; values that they can stand up for even if it means that it may not be in their favor at times.

What for sure is, that we must have a system and process to measure along of clear objectives and outcomes, so that we do not end up measuring things that are unimportant and/or easy to measure but do not indicate anything of value.

Smart set of students one year may end up getting a great result, but does that accurately measure the teaching that happened in that exam year?

On the other hand, true measure is when a teacher sees value in all her students and brings the best out of each one of them irrespective of their past achievements, better background etc. Now, that would be magical but difficult to measure. Therefore, we end up measuring what is perhaps easy, that is, marks achieved in an examination.

Measure student achievement but at the same time also student learning and well-being.

What we measure reflects what we value.

2 thoughts on “What we measure is a reflection of what we value

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  1. Very true most educational institutions go for tangible parameters but it’s actually tough to impart intangible characteristics in a student which in my opinion are extremely important for student development and play an important role in building their personality. The success of an educational institution therefore depends on how well they have developed those qualities in students that are not so easy to measure but are easily evident.

  2. Yes Sumeet. We end up measuring either what we know or what we value. Why do we not measure teacher attrition and monitor that, testing to teaching ratio, number of activities in a calendar year to student development? It is much easier to count the toppers and pass vs fail.

    I specially like your last line: “that are not so easy to measure but are easily evident.”

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