Monday, November 19, 2012

Cabrera - MVP; Students - More than numbers

Detroit Tiger fans rejoiced last week when Miguel Cabrera won the American League MVP. In the end, the vote was not even close.

What is remarkable is that there were some who argued that another player, Mike Trout of Anaheim, should have won the award.

After all, Trout was a stat lovers dream. Mitch Albom summarizes the debate well when he says:

"We need to slow down the shoveling of raw data into the "what can we come up with next?" machine. It is actually creating a divide between those who like to watch the game of baseball and those who want to reduce it to binary code."

This conversation made me think of what we are doing in schools today. We are developing more and more stats to determine if students are learning and if teachers are teaching and if schools are efficient and if administrators are focused and on and on.

I admit I am a proponent of measuring our impact. If a student is in my school then I should be able to demonstrate that what we are doing is making a difference.

But we cannot focus on stats alone. All the stats in the world cannot tell me if a student is developing a love for learning.

We have to find a way to look at the intangibles.

Are we developing students who like to read?

Are we helping students who can think?

Are the students in our care learning how to reflect on their learning?

Cabrera is the American League MVP because he had the numbers. But with Cabrera you could also see things that cannot be measured by a statistician's spreadsheet.

When we think of schools we need to make sure that our schools have the numbers, but we also need to make sure that we can see things that cannot be measured by numbers.

Students are more than numbers. We need to remember that as we work to make schools good places for kids.

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