when did it go bad?

06 Apr

i’m having some trouble finding an equivalent for a particular situation.  normally it seems easy to find something that is closely related in the same way as something else, but for some reason this one has got be stymied.  my example comes from the world of running and an article i was talking to a friend about the other day.  in the world of running, and even outside of that world, qualifying for the boston marathon is a standard that which is recognized as a major accomplishment.  if you tell someone you qualified for boston there is an automatic understanding that you have met a gold standard, in this case a sport.  so many other sports are subjective, for example winning a gold medal isn’t a standard as much as a measure of your relative talent.  we started looking for a similar situation, where an achievement would be recognized as meeting a high standard and we were stuck.  in the world of education the word standard has been twisted into a synonym for the testing that takes place at the end of each year; it has become a word that describes something evil, uncreative, etc.  there is nothing wrong with having a standard, a measuring stick of sorts, the issues generally come when we try to use the data that is given by comparison to a standard.  a boston qualifying time is a gate keeper standard, unless you are involved in a charity that allows funds to be raised for entry, you just aren’t allowed to run it without that qualifying time.  perception is reality, right?  find any running group around your city and you’ll probably find talk of working hard and getting better to meet the standard of qualifying, you won’t hear those conversations in schools, at least not the ones where people are excited to talk about it.  perhaps the difference is choice, runners want to be good at running, otherwise they would be sitters.  students don’t generally have the intrinsic motivation to meet their standard of measure in that same way.  so back to my original questions, what is another real world equivalent to qualifying for the boston marathon?  where else can we find a standard that people are so excited to meet and that recognition of that standard is so widely understood?


Posted by on April 6, 2009 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “when did it go bad?

  1. karen vanek

    April 6, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Contuining to try to qualify for the Boston Marathon sounds like what Assessment for Learning should be. Perhaps if we assessed correctly, we’d find more students who would be proudly chasing mastery in many content areas because they know they still have a chance if they work hard.

  2. texasbuckeye

    April 7, 2009 at 8:18 am

    i like the phrase “proudly chasing”, it brings to someone enjoying the struggle.


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