In a traditional academic system of education, the measurements used to assess student development and outcomes are disconnected from real-world accomplishments. Every student takes tests and quizzes, answers questions in homework assignments, takes notes, writes papers, completes oral presentations, and potentially does seemingly creative assignments like creating videos or doing skits. These are content-based assessments where students prove their comprehension and knowledge using academic skills based on language use, critical thinking, formula knowledge, and research skills.
Each of these assessments is graded by their teachers on a 0-100 or A-F scale using state standards and teacher created rubrics. The content or at least the category of content is chosen by the teacher. The form of assessment or options of assessment are chosen by the teacher. The grading of the assessment is completed by the teacher with feedback ranging from a simple score to comments on what was done incorrectly with the hopes that the student does not make the same mistake on future assessments. Within all aspects of this assessment infrastructure, relevance to student interests, passions, and long-term market readiness is never considered. Each student completes the exact same assessment and needs to prove the exact same knowledge and development to earn a grade at the same pace. All students are treated as generic in the sense of who they are, what they can do, and how they prove it.
Arbitrary education standards lead to arbitrary treatment of students and results in academic outcomes that do not differentiate students upon graduation. This lack of differentiation means we have young people who have never been asked to differentiate or communicate their value to higher education institutions or the marketplace. The only thing these students are ready for upon graduation is waiting for someone else to tell them what to do, how to do it, and if they did correctly. Relevant, real-world accomplishments are necessary as throughlines throughout the education experience so students can develop the agency required for success outside of education. When will the education system recognize the disadvantage they are creating for students who need to enter the markets with value and a proactive work ethic?