How Much Does Academic Achievement Truly Help In Measuring Success?

Competition is the key today, in a world where hard work and practice beat talent. It is no wonder then, that the same approach is taken towards academics as well. Schools and parents all over, seek high academic performances from students, and use the same to measure students’ success.

Indian education system is infamous for placing the entire weightage of student success on their report card scores, further outspreading the notion that success is based on one’s academics. However, students that excel in academics, do not always go on to excel professionally, or personally. This is because academics alone, cannot constitute a holistic learning model.

Evaluation of a student based on test score can be considered a narrow approach, since it does not take into consideration, the other components needed for overall development of students. Math, Science, Language and Arts, are often used as a primary measure to determine students’ intelligence. API (Academic Performance Indicator) should have some effective place in assessing students, but it should not be the sole measure for determining their effectiveness and success. There are many factors that influence academic success, such as motivation, attitude, student interest, recognition, personality, etc. Therefore, test score alone would not suffice, calling for a more comprehensive approach to measure proficiency of student learning.

How Can Student Success be Evaluated Appropriately?

With the intrusion of technology and social media into their doors and minds, the current generation is wired to look for instant gratification, seeking immediate results and rewards. A single test at the end of the year does no justice to the intelligence and capabilities of students. Unfortunately, this is a commonly practiced system, despite its ineffectiveness. The world has changed, and so have the dynamics of learning, which calls for change in the typical evaluation through examination system. There is an urgent need for educational institutions to come up with more intricate and diversified frameworks, to measure student success, through methods apart from academic achievement.

The role of learning environment, can never be over emphasized. Resources and surroundings, have direct impact on the learning process. Students of this generation require thinking skills of much higher order, ability to recall, analysis, interference, and assessment. Keeping this in mind, different measures of logical solutions are gradually surfacing, to encompass various aspects of student success.

Higher education systems now use online examinations, online learning software, blended learning, group discussions, project presentations, student conferences and internships, as approaches to evaluate every student’s understanding of the subject matter and their interest in it. Schools can also incorporate assessments for students to learn practical, real-world skills through appropriate activities and tasks. Since such tasks provide immediate feedback on student strengths, and weaknesses, they keep the students interested, and give them the scope to work on the feedback at the earliest.

Five Basic Metrics to Measure Student Success

It is important to keep individual goals and ambitions of students in mind, when measuring their success. Precise policies must be adopted by educational institutions to track student metrics at regular intervals, while keeping a track of student engagement. Some common, highly effective metrics that can be used to measure student success are:

  • Retention rates
  • Graduation rates
  • Completion time
  • Academic performance
  • Tracking education goals

The quality of learning imbibed in a student must be measured with not one, but a plethora of entities that dig deep to divulge their success map. A significant track record of the student, maintained by the school, throughout the year, facilitates the right approach to enable customized learning and growth in academics, while also encouraging non-academic success that lay the foundation for their careers. Grit, curiosity, oral communication, teamwork, and creativity are some characteristics of the students that add weightage in addition to academics. Important metrics that schools can include in their framework for measuring student success are:

  • Aggregate assessments
  • Advancement in individual growth
  • Test scores
  • Assessment of student’s alternative needs
  • Grades in experimenting and learning programs
Progress and Success Through Student Goal Setting

York, Gibson, & Rankin Revised Conceptual Model of Academic Success, is an effective, practical assessment, research and evaluation proposed by peers from The Pennsylvania State University. It’s a conceptual framework designed to measure academic success. The framework measures the success of a student through academic accomplishment, student satisfaction, commitment in educationally purposeful activities, achievement of desired skills and knowledge, competencies, persistence and outcomes.

Just as in professional establishments, teachers can make ‘Goal Setting’ a weekly practice for students. Every student must set their goals, and ascertain actions and behaviors to be learned, that can help them achieve the listed goals. Setting targets and goals, helps teachers evaluate precisely, the capabilities and progress of a student. This strategy has a positive impact on student achievement. Such determined approach towards goals, helps students learn and eliminate obstacles that hinder success. Teachers may also step forward, to help each student with customized resources and learning, required to achieve set goals. This approach is highly beneficial to familiarize students with success barriers and learn about attitude shifts and behavioral changes that help them persist in challenging conditions, and break barriers.

Student Success

Success is subjective, and cannot be rightly measured with a standard, generalized approach, that applies uniformly among all students, irrespective of their goals, learning capabilities and differences. Customized learning and ample support at home and school, create an encouraging learning environment for students, motivating them to further develop an interest, and engage in academics, while also participating in activities that develop some much needed life skills and behaviors.

A standard examination system, may not reflect the true picture of students’ success. However, conceptual frameworks can fill this void, by rightly gauging their ambitions, capabilities and requirements. Schools that adopt a conceptual framework, get a clearer, precise picture of student learning and success.

Such an in-depth approach towards the academic and personal development of students, won’t just shape better futures for them, but also build a competitive, integrated education system in the country.

- Jiji Tharayil

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