In the Media: The Age, The Brisbane Times, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 December 2020, page 37
As we approach the final weeks of 2020, many of us are excitedly preparing to down our tools, to rest and recharge. But for students and their families anxiously awaiting the release of ATAR results, these weeks will feel long.
Academic scores can be a helpful way to measure educational achievement, which is why at Strathcona Girls Grammar, we endeavour to support our students with the right knowledge and resources to succeed academically and help them gain entry into their pathway of choice.
As educators, we’re always proud when our students achieve strong academic results, but we also want to know they’re equipped to thrive beyond their school years. We need to look beyond test scores and remember that academia is just one piece of a holistic education. The personal growth that students experience during their school years plays an equally important role in helping them build a fulfilling life.
This year more than any other has demonstrated the need for more than just strong test results to cope with the curveballs life throws at us. In the face of horrific bushfires, lockdowns, remote learning, and time away from loved ones, students have had to draw deep to cultivate important life skills that many individuals don’t develop until well into adulthood.
Moving from structured face-to-face learning to remote online learning has tested students’ ability to nimbly switch directions and remain positive in the face of change, which will be instrumental in helping them to thrive in a fast-paced world, where the majority of them will perform jobs that don’t even exist yet.
As they explored new ways of learning, students also found creative ways to socialise, turning to technology to maintain human connection and a sense of community, which I doubt many will take for granted anytime soon.
The ATAR can’t measure accountability, kindness, tenacity or any of the other invaluable strengths students have developed during this year. They’ve been creative, self-directed, determined and shown incredible strength. And just because we can’t distil these learnings into a neat number, it doesn’t make them any less important. In fact, it’s these qualities that provide a strong foundation for future success and happiness.
As we close out the year, I want to remind all students that a test score cannot measure the hours you spent creating new ways to engage with your community. It can’t measure time spent pushing through frustration and loneliness. A test score can’t demonstrate your curiosity, empathy, bravery or resilience. So, to all of those students anxiously awaiting ATAR results, please remember that a test score can only measure a small fraction of who you are.