3 Important Questions to Help Measure the School Experience of Students

    My favorite read of the week was the article, “The only metric of success that really matters is the one we ignore.”  The whole article is compelling, but this part about Bill Gates really stuck with me:
    It is no secret that aging helps with perspective. Bill Gates, reflecting on his work last year, said that as a young man in his 20s, he was consumed with making Microsoft a personal-computing giant. Today, his focus is on other people: “Did I devote enough time to my family? Did I learn enough new things? Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones? These would have been laughable to me when I was 25, but as I get older, they are much more meaningful.”
    This post has power for personal reflection, but the title makes me think of the work that is done in education.
    Is there a critical metric of success in schools that we tend to ignore?
    If I asked you that question, what would your answer be?  What would the students you serve say?  How is that answer highlighted, so it is not ignored?
    Here are three questions I think are really important that will tell you a lot about what is essential in your school or classroom.
    Do students feel safe?
    Do students feel valued?
    Does the school experience open doors for their present and future?
    If you can answer the first two positively, the third will be a lot easier.  If the first two are not a focus, success in the future is possible but more likely in spite of their school experience, not in direct relation.  Even more important, how would your students answer these questions?
    PS…I initially did not include the word “present” in the third question, but  I reminded myself that sometimes we are so focused on what we are going to do for students in the future we ignore how important  “right now” is for our learners.

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