My wife is a wonderful person who tolerates most all of my
idiosyncrasies. One thing she doesn’t tolerate well is my penchant for watching the NFL Draft in all its 30 hours of glory.Its got drama, its got
action, its got intrigue. The thrill of
victory, the agony of defeat, that whole deal. Tune in April 27 at 8:00 Eastern, 7:00 Central! What’s not to love?
As a Chief’s fan, it is always about next year, and the
combine and the draft feed my false hope beginning in February. Part of the drama is the NFL Combine. An event that brings in all of the great college players and runs them through a series of
tests to determine if they will be successful in the NFL. They run, lift, jump, drill, interview, and
take intelligence tests. Players are
poked and prodded by doctors and trainers, leaving nothing to chance. Except of course, there is still a lot left
Who can forget Matt Jones? Wait, Matt who? Star of the 2005
combine, Jones was fast, strong, and could jump over the goalpost. He earned
the nickname “Freak” for his scores. Picked 21st because of his test
results, he washed out of the league after three years.
Then there is this guy who was almost laughed out of the draft
in 2000. In fact, check out this video
and draw your own conclusions: https://youtu.be/kxx_u67eUSA The Patriots wasted the 199th pick
on him and what has he done since?
What can we learn from this little football lesson? Well, one thing is that test scores are
inputs. Inputs can predict outcomes, but
usually not with 100% certainty. Football fans have learned that combine scores are not the best measures of success in the NFL. The best measure
of success in the NFL is, well, performance in the NFL.
This week, the Kansas Commissioner (of education, not
football) shared preliminary results of a method for measuring student success
that is not based upon test scores. The commissioner and state board want
school districts to look at what students are doing one and two years after
leaving high school. Are they performing
in college or technical schools? Have
they earned licenses or certificates that qualify them for entry to the
Another way of saying this could be, do they have the
social/emotional skills, a plan for moving forward, a quality K-12 experience (starting
with Kindergarten readiness and ending with high school graduation) that
enables them to attend and complete a post-secondary experience?
This is a leap for some. How can we influence what students do after they leave our systems? Back to sports for an example- have you ever
heard a college coach tout the success of the program’s players in the big
leagues? For that matter, who hasn’t
bragged about the percentage of their students that go on to post-secondary
institutions after graduation. If we
want to take credit for success, we need to take responsibility as well.
For football players, the measure of success is a mustard-colored
hall of fame jacket. For our students,
the measure of success is whether they have lived a good life. Neither of those outcomes is measurable in
advance, but the state board is taking a step in the right direction by asking
us to look out two years after our students leave us, instead of relying on a