As you read this article, our students are either still involved in tests of some form or have just finished them.
Teachers are conscientiously marking, assessing and preparing reports for you.
What we are all trying to do is to help your daughters and sons to grow in their learning, in their skills, and in their knowledge. We are trying to help them to develop a broader and more generous view of how they fit into a better world. And to try to help them find a suitable way to best use their God-given talents.
If we focus on just the final outcome and call that success, we will have missed an opportunity to encourage and value our young people.
Recently I attended the Victorian Premier’s VCE Awards. It is a prestigious honour to receive one and I was very proud to be able to see a Year 12 student Elissa Abou Eissa presented with an award for Arabic.
What a proud moment for her and her parents!
One of the most startling facts from that event was the High Achievers Award given to students who scored a 46/50 in all their subjects. An awesome achievement, no doubt.
But only 21 students of the more that 50,000 who sit the VCE achieve this level of excellence. That’s not a big percentage.
Now, if we have really narrow models of what excellence means in schools, then we:
We each grow at different rates, that is for certain. But we don’t all blossom at the same time – early bloomers, or late bloomers.
And, because we haven’t all been given the same level of talent, competitive excellence values the most fortunate more than the hardest working; the grateful ones who strive to make the most of what they have been given. Strictly speaking, I know that talent only will very rarely produce excellence and that those who achieve generally have to work hard.
I understand why the Premier’s Awards look for outstanding levels of achievement. But in a school, and let alone in a family, we try to grow each person; we try to grow everyone.
That is why looking at the amount of improvement or growth is really important, rather than just at a simple score, so to speak. And I invite all students, families and staff to do the same as each report or assessment becomes known.
Because becoming the best version of yourself, a particular emphasis at this College, is a lifetime’s work.
Of growing day by day.