Posts Tagged ‘Professor Alan Smithers’

Girls’ School Fights Perfectionism by Rigging Tests

June 25, 2013


I believe that perfectionism can be quite debilitating because it deprives its subject the ability to take pleasure from their achievements. However, the way to counter perfectionism isn’t by preventing children from getting a perfect score on a test, it’s by making them feel good about who they are and comfortable that their best is more important than their score:

Girls at a leading private school are being made to sit tests in which it is impossible to score 100 per cent, so they understand it is acceptable not to be ‘little Miss Perfect’.

Oxford High School for Girls has designed the online maths tests to show pupils it is ‘fine not to get everything right’.

In the exam, for pupils aged 11, the questions will get harder and harder until the girl reaches the top of her ability. She will then be given questions she cannot answer.

The test could be rolled out to other schools if it is successful at the £12,000-a-year day school where 92 per cent of students scored A* or A at GCSE last year.

Chief executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust Helen Fraser told The Sunday Times the idea would help girls understand that ‘being perfect is the enemy of learning’.

Education expert Professor Alan Smithers, of the University of Buckingham, said the tests should be extended to boys as well. 

He told the Daily Telegraph: ‘Tough tests for both boys and girls to really challenge them are a good idea, and it is good to have questions that only very few – or perhaps none – can answer.

‘The tougher the question, the more children are likely to develop to meet them, and a by–product of that may be that children learn that you can’t succeed in everything and if you fail, the rational thing to do is ask why.’

How does creating a new perfect, as this system forces perfectionists to do, actually change their way of thinking? Surely the key is not to con them into an error but to help them gain satisfaction from their hard work.

Click on the link to read Lego Blamed for Harming Children’s Development


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