As she did in Internet Risk Aversion, once again Kathy Sierra tells us here how education should work in terms of a different human relations venue. Her diagram above (make the top box “student” not “employer”) tells us all there is to say about why the standards and assessment movement is turning our kids into middling test passers instead of stars. Have you ever met a child who was not or could not become f’n amazing? I haven’t.
I recommend Kathy’s entire article for reading in the context of what schools do with our kids. Here is some flavor:
By focusing on “areas of improvement”, we’re putting a square peg in a round hole. What do we end up with? A crappy, rounded off peg who meets the minimum thresholds at the expense of their most kick-ass attributes. What if let ourselves (and those we manage) spend a lot more energy in the areas where we are–or could be–amazing?
The higher tragedy here is that in focusing on the gray box of assessing the attainment of mediocracy, education misses the open connectivity that inevitably follows the pursuit of excellence in the 21st century. While kids grind away in a paper mill to pass tests, they are not free to pursue the grand knowledge of the open Internet learning ecology. That must change!