It’s important to remember that student growth is never completely measured on a test. Suzanne Okey, a former special education teacher, agrees:
Achievement is supposed to be a benchmark of where students are so we understand where they are learning and where they are in development. We measure infants in every checkup: Are their heads growing enough? Can we assume they are getting adequate nutrition? It’s like that in schools; we measure whether or not they get adequate nourishment, are they benefiting from what we are providing or are we doing one size fits all model and leaving lots behind? We are in the business of nourishing children; nourishing their minds, bodies, and social development. Achievement looks at the tunnel of academics only. This means we are not doing observation necessary to see if a child develops in all aspects. Then one day, you have a bright child who is doing well academically who falls off the planet because no one noticed social problems.
Our job is to help our students be successful in school, but more importantly, it’s about helping them be successful in life. Great teachers define success as more than the test, and they provide multiple opportunities for every student to succeed frequently. They know that success breeds success and that all students can learn. Great teachers also teach their students that attempting something new is valuable, because even if you fail, as long as you learn and grow from the experience, you are not a failure.