Are We Grading What Matters?
What does a successful Ravenscroft graduate look like ten years later?
At one of our recent Division Meetings led by a representative from the Center for Creative Leadership, the Lower School faculty was asked to describe their vision of a successful Ravenscroft graduate. There were common themes that emerged from our descriptions and noticeable items that were missing from our lists.
- Global awareness
- Innovative thinking and design
- Environmental stewardship
- Healthy, joyful, and balanced
- Positive citizenship and leadership at the local, national, and global levels
- Collaborative team members
- Financial success
- Academic scores
- Rankings, grades, and awards
As a group, we discussed how a large portion of time is devoted to academic success during school hours, but yet, that was not what truly mattered when defining success for our students. This made me think about our report cards and other areas where we provide feedback to parents about the progress of their children. When reviewing our report cards, I was glad to see we place work/study habits and social development as the first two sections before we list the core academic areas. The traits listed under these two sections are ones that I feel have a profound effect on how successful a student will be inside and outside of the classroom. As you review your child’s report card, I hope you will value the work/study habits and social development sections as highly, if not more, than the language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies sections; the traits listed in those first two categories will most likely translate into success for students when they explore life outside of Ravenscroft.
As we focus on preparing students to thrive in a complex and interdependent world, I was left wondering if our report cards and assessments reflected students’ progress on all the 21st skills they will need to be successful: critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity, innovation, decision making, problem solving, digital citizenship, information fluency, and skills and knowledge related to technology concepts and operations. What is missing and do we need to revise our current assessments and report cards to reflect our new understanding about teaching and learning in the 21st century?
I am realistic about the importance of quantitative grades in our society, and I realize that as long colleges and universities require and emphasize SAT scores, GPAs, AP classes, etc., we will continue to provide that type of feedback to our students here at Ravenscroft in order to successfully prepare them for their academic futures. It is my hope, however, that as teachers and parents, we will not be so consumed with these quantitative marks that we forget what truly defines success for a Ravenscroft graduate.
How would you describe success for your Ravenscroft graduate?