MECS Blog

Measuring what matters

Measuring what matters

Monday, 28 July 2014  | Narelle - MECS Principal
‘God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.’  (Daniel 5:25-26)

‘I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance…you have persevered and endured hardship for my name and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you; you have forsaken your first love.’  (Revelation 2:4)

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’  (Matthew 25:40)

Evaluation and assessment are an integral part of modern life. People, places, products and process have to meet up to performance goals and expectations. Our Year 12’s are nearly on the home straight as they finish off their schooling. Thirteen years of learning is under scrutiny.  Will it measure up for a job? For a university placement? Will their results be a true reflection of their hard work?

At the end of last term you would have received formative reports for your children. How did your children perform?

Education uses ever more sophisticated tools to measure its successes and weaknesses. NAPLAN compares the achievement of students across the nation. Schools can be compared on their performance. Students can be ranked. Value can attributed to an endless array of criteria. Schools can use a range of tools to measure cognitive (thinking) ability, affective (feeling) ability, social and emotional intelligence and host of other characteristics.

Belshazzar, of the Daniel passage quoted above, was by most standards a successful leader; immensely powerful; rich beyond measure; in charge of a huge empire. Yet by God’s standards he failed miserably. God looked for humility and he found arrogance; he looked for obedience and he found rebellion…’you have been weighed and found wanting.’
The church at Ephesus in the Revelation passage would have measured up well on any taxonomy for a ‘successful church’ – hard working, patient, persevering, discerning of evil, resilient. Yet they had missed the mark. They had lost their first love.

Jesus’ disciples quizzed him on what made a successful kingdom follower. Perhaps it was piety, or biblical knowledge or attendance to religious duties. However, Jesus gave an ‘H’ (Highly confident and competent – see MECS Reports) to the person who offers hospitality, who helps the homeless, who gives company and friendship to a shut-in, who advocates for someone who has a ruined reputation, who has compassion for the refugee.

In our flurry of end-of-term assessment and reporting, are we consciously aware of the things we don’t measure and on which we don’t give a report card. How do you measure spiritual growth? How do we report on formation of character? How do we acknowledge the person who quietly goes about helping other people without fanfare or fuss? Does our testing give enough weight to creativity, curiosity, imagination, perseverance, loyalty and gentleness? How do we reward the ability to handle disappointment? How do you set up an instrument to measure wisdom?

As a community of students, parents and teachers we can give thanks for all the wonderful insights contemporary educational practice gives us and we can celebrate our achievements by many of its benchmarks. However, at the same time we are careful in our conversations on the things for which we affirm people, in the rewards that we give, so that the things that we identify as important and of worth actually reflect the values of Jesus and His kingdom.

Narelle
MECS Principal
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