Katie Martin and I have become very good friends over the past few years. We seem to be passionate about many of the same things, yet we both push and support one another.  You need those type of people in your life; people who know when to be a “cheerleader”, but also a critical friend. Katie is one of those people to me, and I try to return the favour to her.  People like this in your life push you to become better.
    In her recent post, “What Are We Really Measuring“, she takes on the complex topic of standardized testing in schools.  At the end of her post, she makes a compelling case on why we need to rethink standardized testing:
    The Future of Jobs Report describes the urgency to to prepare future workers for the not so distant future. “The talent to manage, shape and lead the changes underway will be in short supply unless we take action today to develop it. For a talent revolution to take place, governments and businesses will need to profoundly change their approach to education, skills and employment, and their approach to working with each other.”
    According to the report, the skills that will be in high demand by 2020 are:
    Complex Problem Solving
    Critical Thinking
    Creativity
    People management
    Coordinating with Others
    Emotional Intelligence
    Judgement and Decision Making
    Service Orientation
    Negotiation
    Cognitive Flexibility
    The world of work demands individuals embody  these skills but our actions in schools still rely on antiquated (and inaccurate) testing practices,  which have prevented us from aligning a vision that creates the desired culture and experiences.  It’s critical that we rethink why, what, and how we learn in schools for students to thrive in the information economy of today and tomorrow, not yesterday.
    Brilliant stuff and makes you really think about not only why we use standardized tests, but what will this lead to for our future students?
    But this was not the part that caught my attention. It was the comment right at the beginning:
    This post, I Can’t Answer These Texas Standardized Test Questions About My Own Poems brought me back to being in school when we had to answer questions about the main idea or what the author’s purpose was- I remember being frustrated that there was just one answer and thinking how does my teacher know? Did she call the author?  
    That made me snort laugh.
    But it also made me want to read further.  This is key.
    I remember early on in my career listening to a speaker who is brilliant.  They were showing us the latest in technology and the amazing things that were possible in our world today.  The speaker was talking in certain formulas, code, etc., and I remember thinking, “That was brilliant but I could never do that.”  I did not see myself in that picture.
    When I talked to Katie about her post, it was gnawing me why it resonated so much.  Simply put, it was “smart and relatable”.  I felt a connection to a human reading it, and wanted to read more.  The comment about “calling the teacher” made me think, “I used to wonder the same thing!”
    Whether you are writing, speaking, teaching, or leading a building, being “relatable” is crucial. If people can’t see themselves in what you are sharing, it doesn’t matter how brilliant the idea is.  That personal connection is vital and is the most crucial element in helping others move forward.

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