I hope you're ready to deal with a big wet face right now, because this story IS MEGA ROUGH ON THE CRY-BONES. A primary school in Lancashire, UK, sent home a letter with students' test scores, explaining that tests only measure a very narrow set of skills, while the value of individual human beings shines bright from an infinite number of facets.
Clearly the note resonated not just with kids, but also with adults still traumatized from years of struggling through standardized tests, from having their value gauged by one fairly arbitrary metric (at which some kids are naturals and others are not). It's gone viral all over the fucking place. And even though I happened to be one of those weird standardized test naturals, I think the message that there are so many ways to matter applies to everyone in their own way. We all feel like we're not smart enough or not pretty enough or not funny enough or not cool enough. Being nice is as important as being smart. Being good at basketball is as impressive as being good at chemistry.
Can you imagine if kids were really taught that in a meaningful, nuanced, and sincere way? In school? Everywhere? If it really sank in? I think it's the power in that idea that got my feels going.
Here's the letter in full, via the BBC:
Please find enclosed your end of KS2 test results. We are very proud of you as you demonstrated huge amounts of commitment and tried your very best during this tricky week.
However, we are concerned that these tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique. The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you... the way your teachers do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way your families do.
They do not know that many of you speak two languages. They do not know that you can play a musical instrument or that you can dance or paint a picture.
They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day. They do not know that you write poetry or songs, play or participate in sports, wonder about the future, or that sometimes you take care of your little brother or sister after school.
They do not know that you have travelled to a really neat place or that you know how to tell a great story or that you really love spending time with special family members and friends.
They do not know that you can be trustworthy, kind or thoughtful, and that you try, every day, to be your very best... the scores you get will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything.
So enjoy your results and be very proud of these but remember there are many ways of being smart.
And here's the school's reaction to their newfound notoriety:
"We never give pupils the message that academic attainment isn't important - what we do is celebrate that we send really independent, confident, articulate learners on to the next stage of their school career."
Writing on Twitter, Barrowford school said: "Wow. There are posts all over the world about this letter!! All we did was remind our Y6 how amazing they are!!!"