The Seriousness of Statistics; Why Do We Do This?

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After exam results are released, regardless of the qualification or level they are for, there’s usually one main focus: the statistics. How well did a school do? Are they top of the table? How many students received A*s? How many failed? We concentrate so much on statistics to gauge success that the individual student becomes forgotten. They are little more than a mark towards a percentage, and their success story becomes void if the school’s does.

Do we measure the student who rarely turned up to classes, yet had a burst of motivation, turned her life around and achieved Ds, as an under-achiever, or do we class her as a success, because she turned it around, and she did more than many of her teachers would have thought possible at the beginning of the year? Sadly, we don’t even hear her story. We see her Ds reflected in the school, and that school becomes somewhere that can’t pass all of it students, instead of somewhere that helps children find new motivation and a desire to learn against all odds.

Of course statistics are necessary: we can’t choose schools based on reading hundreds of examples of students. We need a basic idea of who gets through where, and what the national average is. However, maybe we need a less black and white option; an option that reveals the true side of the school, the side that doesn’t give up regardless of trailing exam results, the school that needs students as much as students need it.

When schools start to push students too far, when they push individuals to reach for higher marks at their own discomfort, that’s when we know that statistics have gone too far. In no place of education should a number come before an individual pupil – and this is where tutoring comes in. Tutors, while striving to help their students succeed – aren’t working to bump up a school’s placing in the tables. They are there purely to help a child learn, study and grow academically; pupils are pupils, not numbers or percentages. They are there to develop study aids to help them achieve the best they can, without the pressure of newspaper articles and condemning reports.

We need to turn education into an industry where exam results are for the pupil, and celebrated for the pupil. Results should be viewed relative to that student’s history and academic record, not for what the school wants it to show, or for what the parents want to hear.

So, I ask you this: is it more important to instill a love of studying and education into a child, but chance their exam results, or push them to their top potential at the risk of having them burn-out in higher education? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please get involved!

Robert Grabiner – Founder of MyTutorWeb

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