What is Student Achievement?

Many of the school improvement, coaching and leadership sessions that I facilitate at some point explore the definition of student achievement that drives the work of the school and teachers. I find two approaches that often emerge. Some schools and educators see the state standard as their goal. Others have a broader, richer picture, and see the state standard as something to be met on the way to the broader goal.

Here are two school settings examining a broader definition:

A. Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia

List the following student achievement goals:

1. Academics – all students will obtain, understand, analyze, communicate and apply knowledge and skills to achieve success in school and life.

2. Essential Life Skills – all students will demonstrate the aptitude, attitude, and skills to lead responsible, fulfilling, and respectful lives.

3. Responsibility to the Community – all students will understand and model the important attributes people must have to contribute to an effective and productive community and common good of all.

B. Recently, Miami Dade College announced a plan to examine each of its 2000+ course offerings to determine what key skills are, and are not, being taught. The goal is to make sure that no student can go through an entire program of study without being exposed to the following ten key skill sets:

1. To communicate effectively using listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

2. To use quantitative analytical skills to evaluate and process numerical data.

3. To solve problems using critical and creative thinking and scientific

reasoning.

4. To formulate strategies to locate, evaluate, and apply information.

5. To demonstrate knowledge of diverse cultures, including global and historical perspectives.

6. To create strategies that can be used to fulfill personal, civic, and social responsibilities.

7. To demonstrate knowledge of ethical thinking and its application to issues in society.

8. To use computer and emerging technologies effectively.

9. To demonstrate an appreciation for aesthetics and creative activities.

10. To describe how natural systems function, and recognize the impact of human beings on the environment.

Click here to view entire Learning Outcomes Covenant.

If you are working with a broader definition or list of skills for achievement, please comment, so others can contact you.

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