Sunday, 16 June 2013

Why can't kids fail?

Ashwini brought back her test results over the weekend. I saw that and I thought of how my test results were. Mine was really simple. You either scored, passed or failed. And when you actually wrote rubbish, you failed. There is such a thing as failure and none of us wanted that. When I brought my results back home, and if there was a "F" in there, in red, I better get prepared for some really good smacking (actually smacking was far from good). Thankfully, there weren't many of those in my time.

But kids in New Zealand have four types of grading - "Developing", "Achieved", "Merit" or "Excellence". And Anil's college has a similar four scale result but the "Developing" is replaced by "Not Achieved". How weird is that? Why can't you fail? What does "Developing" actually mean? Isn't "Not Achieved" simply a fail? Why is it so difficult to say that you have failed?

We had that debate here once before and parents felt that saying a child has failed is not good for his or her morale and the use of "Developing" and "Not Achieved" is far less harmful. Parents need to face up to the fact that people WILL fail in life. There are no two ways about it. If they don't know what failure is like when they are a child, how would they be able to accept failure when they grow up? We need to prepare kids to face the real world out there. A world that has no mercy and will tell it like it is - no sugar coating.

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