Last week a local newspaper listed all of the Coventry High School students that earned the distinction of being listed on either the Honor Roll or High Honor roll. It would be easy to applaud their accomplishment and praise their efforts but maybe we should just talk about it a little first.
Coventry High has an enrollment as of March 1st of 558 students and being on the Honor Roll should be a reflection of outstanding work by a student over a quarter year grading period. It has always been perceived that an honor roll student was above the norm and exceeding a minimum level of performance in the classroom.
We often hear at Board of Education meetings a discussion about “State Standards” it is often referred to by administrators as a “goal”. As a parent and taxpayer it has always been an area that is found troubling, because a “State Standard” has never been the perceived level for superior performance. It has been more often perceived and had a connotation for being a bare level of acceptable performance.
Here in Coventry it would seem as if a large number of students are performing well above “State Standards”. If that were true it would seem natural that our state test scores reported annually would also be well above State averages for comparable High School Students. So where does Coventry stand in challenging our students and measuring their progress?
Coventry test scores on State tests while acceptable are not exceptional, so the question becomes how can that be? If nearly 1/3 of all students are on the Honor Roll and performing so well in the classroom why do we not show exceptional scores on State tests?
Could it be that there are so many low performing students that the average is a deflated number and the learning gap is wide? Could it be that we have dumb down our grading system so that it overstates accomplishment?
Over 36% of the senior class is currently on the honor roll. Could the argument be made that spending levels on education in Coventry are producing outstanding students performing well above their peers in other systems?
These are just questions and observations that deserve some consideration as we look at the number of students performing so well in Coventry. It is obvious our youth have tremendous potential and with the current measuring system many are superior in their academic achievement. Perhaps the real question is; are we challenging them enough?
Do we provide an education system that expands the growth of a child both mentally and physically? Do we measure and monitor progress in a manner that will become a tool for developing educational opportunities for students? Is the Honor Roll a reflection of a superior teaching staff? Do we protect staff, coddle our youth and create happy parents with unrealistic academic achievement reports? Those are just questions for your consideration.
Asking questions and considering options is another way of learning. Self reflection and introspection of the educational system may bring change or it just may be, we are perfect the way we are but putting some thought into it can never hurt.
For now let’s salute the students of Coventry High School that have earned a place on the Honor Roll. They have proven they can reach the level of performance we reward with honor.