I just read an interesting article on the CBC’s website which said:
“The Canadian Education Association says research shows achievement is deterred when students are forced to stay back a year. Many of these students are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to attend post-secondary education. The study also indicated that failing affects an individual’s social and emotional development and produces lower employment outcomes.”
This research has prompted educators to reconsider adopting the notion of no-fail policies.
I think this is total B.S.
Sure it would be damaging socially and personally to be held back a year, but there is a lot to be said about learning to deal with failure.
Failure is an inevitable part of life and many successful people in life are people who are not afraid to fail.
Take Bill Gates for example who has famously said among other things:
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
“Life is not fair; get used to it”
If anything, a no-fail policy deprives a student of the opportunity to experience consequences for poor performance and the chance to find redemption in hard work and reevaluated priorities.
But what’s the alternative? Passing kids through until they graduate high school, don’t have a chance at successfully completing post secondary education, and have no concept of responsibility?
And another point, perhaps the failing grade doesn’t rest solely on the student?
It could also be that the teacher is not educating to a high enough standard. A no-fail policy would gloss over this occurrence – and this cycle could continue for future students. Inevitably this could lead to a deterioration of the quality of Canadian education standards. It sounds drastic, but the truth is that a no-fail policy in itself would be a deterioration of our system.
However, and I know it may be hypocritical to state this, I think there are some instances where a kid shouldn’t fail. For example, in a case where a student has a learning or mental disability, it would not be productive to fail them. Obviously when this would be appropriate needs to be decided on an individual basis.
Rather than instating a no-fail policy maybe we should be focusing our energy on making sure these students don’t fail? Tackling the problem instead of ignoring it is our best solution to ensuring success.