Recently, the Program of International Student Assessment released the scores from a 2012 exam in reading, math and science that is given every three years to 15-year-olds around the world.
This time, 65 countries and education systems participated, and the United States scored in the slightly above-average range with little movement during the past 10 years. Many media reports and opinion leaders seem bent on trying to find blame and a way to "fix" this problem so that American students can lead the way on these standardized tests.
However, I keep going back to something that Dr. Yong Zhao said to a team of our administrators and teachers this summer. He commented that so much emphasis is placed on these tests, yet the countries that score the highest are looking at schools in the United States to see how we are educating our young people.
Educational leaders in Asian and European countries want to know how we are diversifying education to meet the needs of every student. They want to know how we encourage creativity and critical-thinking skills so today's students can become the inventors and patent-holders of tomorrow.
Dr. Zhao works all across the globe with leaders discussing how implications of globalization and technology are affecting education. He doesn't define success by how well a student competes on a standardized test. He, like most parents, defines success if his children are happy and not living in his basement after graduation.
Hilliard City Schools has taken a similar approach to how we define success for our students. Certainly, we use testing data to help guide instruction and curricular decisions. We go beyond the state assessments to create multiple data points for a child so that teachers can facilitate maximum growth and achievement for every student.
However, a Hilliard City Schools' education goes well beyond a test score.
We want students to explore their passions while also having the necessary skills to be ready for college and a career. We strive to offer our students an education that prepares them for life beyond the confines of any classroom.
Our curriculum provides students with the opportunity to maximize their learning levels, and we push them to reach beyond what they think they are capable of doing and question what they think they know.
We embrace every student and empower them to make choices in their educational journey. We inspire them to think outside the box and try new experiences so they are ready for tomorrow.
We do this so that our community has the next generation of leaders it will need to be successful today and in the future.
Education is the silver bullet that can change a person's life. It can break the poverty cycle and reduces crime rates. Education raises income levels and creates a better overall common wealth. This is how businesses grow and economies thrive.
At Hilliard City Schools, we will review the latest data and see how we can use it to further our mission of ensuring that every student is ready for tomorrow.
However, we will not allow a single testing point to define our students or our community. We will examine our areas of strength while always looking for ways to improve.
Hilliard City Schools will continue to find innovative ways to raise the bar for students so that they are ready for the demands of tomorrow's workforce and stay out of their parent's basements after graduation.
The Hilliard Schools Connection column is provided to ThisWeek Hilliard Northwest News by Superintendent John Marschhausen.