Who is defining “student success”?

I read this short little article on the definition of success, and I liked the thinking:

  • Success isn’t about how much money you’ve in your bank account
  • Success isn’t about how much money do you spend on a Saturday night
  • Success isn’t about how big your residence is
  • Success isn’t about wearing high-end clothes
  • Success isn’t about using an iPhone
  • Success isn’t about driving a Mercedes

Success according to me is accomplishing your goal

Be it a small goal or a big goal.

The emphasis on the word “your” is mine, not the author’s.  Why it stuck out to me was more and more in education, are we helping students define their goals, are outside sources defining what success is for them?

Think about it…how often in school is “success” deemed by how you compare to others, not how you have focused on your own goal.

In the shift from focusing on empowerment in schools, not only engagement, how truly empowered are we in being successful based on someone else’s standards?

This is a great quote on the idea of “success”:


How determined would one be to work towards someone else’s goal?  And if students aren’t in on the conversation on what “success” means to them, the reality is sometimes they could feel like a failure even though they have met the targets of someone else.

Students need to define what success truly means to them. not just us.