A Student’s Thoughts on Assessing Achievement …

At lunch yesterday, I was encouraging our students to attend the upcoming public forum for recommending different ways to assess students, teachers, administrators, schools … one of the students, who participates in our culinary arts / local lunch service project came up with this observation:

“I’m a cook.  The world needs people who know how to make good soup from local ingredients … the world doesn’t really need great test-takers.”

3 responses

  1. If your student wants to own/run her own restaurant, she needs to know how to add and subtract; how to figure percentages; how to keep books; how to write a coherent sentence for a business plan when she wants to expand the restaurant; how to write a letter; how kitchen equipment works (for when it breaks down); the science behind the recipes; and so on.
    Beyond that, she may want to do something else besides make soup some day.

    1. Hi Nancy,
      You are right on – our students DO need all of those skills… and they also need to be creative problem-solvers, impassioned risk takers, collaborative, productive, involved, self-directed learners and citizens of the world! Our entrepreneurship program (which includes the planning, growing, harvesting, preparing, and serving of our school lunch) does include curriculum and instruction to support such skills… We believe, though, that AUTHENTIC assessment (the proof being in the proverbial pudding – or soup, in this case) is key to allowing students to demonstrate their achievement in ways that are tangible, useful, and real. The student I quoted in that post used Chemistry and Biology to create the optimal soil conditions to grow the produce; he used Geometry and Economics to plan, draft, budget, purchase materials, and build the hoop house that today – in mid-December here in Maine – is brilliant with fresh greens; he certainly read the recipe, multiplied it to serve a crowd, and then exercised that revolutionary spirit (so coveted by educators from countries who outscore us on standardized testing, but who come to us seeking ways to inspire creativity, courage, and individuality in their own students) by adding spices and boldly garnishing with radish greens.
      I have found that what matters most in this world is often difficult to quantify, measure, and report in graph form.
      All the very best to you,

      1. Brilliant post. And a brilliant reasoning as to what students truly need to have a deeply educational experience. 🙂

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