Students aren’t really tested in school.

I teach high school and students are able to get away with a lot of things in school. I know the students who know how to play the school game. I know because I was one of them. I hardly learned anything in high school of relevance. There are a few areas in my education I distinctly remember. They were the times I was tested in front of other people. It was an extremely uncomfortable situation. I had to lip-synch a song in front of my whole class. I chose Minnie the Moocher by Cab Calloway. I love the Blues Brothers! I was so scared before the performance, I put on sunglasses and smudged the lenses so I couldn’t see the audience of students.

I did something that scared me and lived to tell about it.

After the performance, I felt a little embarrassed but I nailed it! A few students came up to me and told me it was awesome. I felt great. Part of it was because the students liked it, but mostly it was because I got over my fear of failure. I did something that scared me and lived to tell about it. That learning moment will forever be burned into my brain.

Students can cram for a test in math for 2 hours and pass with flying colors. You can’t do that in business. Students learn how to manage life in traditional education and that does not work in reality. You can’t cram for a sales event. You can’t procrastinate and be successful in business.

In my career of over 15 years in education, I have tested many students. I am speaking of authentic tests rather than multiple choice tests here. I teach business and my tests require a result based on numbers of sales and revenue. Many students struggle with my tests because there is a lot of failure that comes along with it. I have to transition their traditional learning to authentic learning. For example, a student can read the notes to a book to learn about it without reading it and gathering the whole story and pass English tests. Students can cram for a test in math for 2 hours and pass with flying colors. You can’t do that in business. Students learn how to manage life in traditional education and that does not work in reality. You can’t cram for a sales event. You can’t procrastinate and be successful in business. Your clients can always see through bull shit. You have to put in the work. Hard work.

Graduates think they can play the traditional game in life when that system was designed for factories and workers over 50 years ago. It doesn’t work. Kids fail in their jobs our can’t figure out why one isn’t given to them like everything was in school.

So why don’t we test this way in all our secondary education institutions? My theory is that parents don’t want to let their kids fail. I often see it at our school. The school doesn’t want the student to be uncomfortable either. If the student struggles, the parents will be on the administration about “pushing their kid too hard.” Graduation rates may fall and the crazy school ranking systems would count that school as a “bad” school. Kids may not get into a “good college.” I think we are seeing this play out after kids graduate college or high school never really being tested. Graduates think they can play the traditional game in life when that system was designed for factories and workers over 50 years ago. It doesn’t work. Kids fail in their jobs our can’t figure out why one isn’t given to them like everything was in school. Young people then have to relearn reality. Shouldn’t we teach them things the real world does? Shouldn’t we teach them life is not going to be fair? Shouldn’t we authentically test them? # disrupteducation

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