- A letter from a principal to parents was uploaded to Reddit and has resonated with readers.
- The letter urges parents to worry less about test scores.
- The principal points to entrepreneurs, musicians, and athletes all have different strengths.
Standardized testing has been called a motivation killer. The phrase “drill and kill” is often used to describe the process of quickly firing content at students to ensure they will perform well on an exam, to the detriment of real learning and creative thought.
While emphasis is often placed on how well students perform on tests, a principal at an unnammed school wrote a letter to parents urging them to worry less about scores, and that their children’s future success isn’t completely tied to how well they perform on exams.
“The exams of your child are to start soon,” the principal wrote. “I know you are all really anxious for your child to do well.” The principal continued:
“But, please do remember, amongst the students who will be sitting for the exams there is an artist, who doesn’t need to understand Math… There is an entrepreneur, who doesn’t care about History or English literature…There is a musician, whose Chemistry marks won’t matter…There’s an athlete…whose physical fitness is more important than Physics… If your child does get top marks, that’s great! But if he or she doesn’t…please don’t take away their self-confidence and dignity from them. Tell them it’s OK, its just an exam! They are cut out for much bigger things in life. Tell them, no matter what they score…you love them and will not judge them. Please do this, and when you do… watch your children conquer the world. One exam or low mark won’t take away…their dreams and talent. And please, do not think that doctors and engineers…are the only happy people in the world.”
The post, uploaded on Reddit, resonated with people, and was viewed more than 13,000 times at the time of this story.
The name and location of the school was not included in the post, and some readers expressed skepticism that the post was real, or written by a native English speaker, noting issues with the letter’s grammar. Some commenters said the letter was written by a principal in a Singaporean school.
Regardless of the origin of the letter, the deeper message that tests should hold less weight than they often do is an important one.
Many high-performing countries, like Finland, already deemphasize the importance of exams.