Isn’t it all the rage? Who’s NOT interested in outcomes, right?
Outcomes are good – they provide a goal to aim for, a set of expectations, an “end” to determine the means.
The question is what the outcomes are, of course. How do we decide how to define those outcomes? Today this mostly has lead to “high test scores”: we want high test scores as outcomes. But why? Isn’t the goal/purpose of education to prepare us for adult life? for our future? If so, why is it that high test scores are the outcome of choice?
How many of us in the working world know anything about the high school or college test scores of our colleagues? We know the research tells us that SAT scores are no indicator of how students perform in college. We know that plenty of people who weren’t great students do very well for themselves. So why are test scores the typical outcome being measured? Why not measure outcomes like responsibility, accountability, creativity, time management, self-direction, and initiative? Aren’t THESE the very things that make a difference in the working world? Wouldn’t those outcomes lead to good things for students? If you had these outcomes and not-so-great test scores, wouldn’t you manage to make your way in the world and with a decent, or great, deal of success?
Part of changing the education paradigm must include this. It must include shifting what we value in education and what we think an education is supposed to offer students.
Outcomes that consider what life requires seem pretty important. Yet, traditional education either doesn’t consider this or it claims to but does nothing about “delivering” on it because of its emphasis on test scores. We need to change that. Traditional schools are delivering to the world students who can’t perform in it – they’ve been prepared for school, not for life.