School Performance Drivers – Life Experience

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Of the four primary school performance drivers (Segregation, Life Experience, Instruction, Motivation) none is more over-relied on and misattributed than life experience.

 

All things being equal a student with more enriched life experiences will outperform the student with less enriched life experiences. This has nothing to do with aptitude.  It is simply a result of additional and more varied life experiences that allow the student to create meaning and context more rapidly.

 

However, not truly understanding the masking effect of enriched life experience by political and educational decision makers does create some significant and detrimental life and policy problems.

 

Problem Number 1: Most parents and educators misattribute the life experience advantage to increased student aptitude and then base instructional decisions on that mistake. This increases the advantages to the already advantaged student and diminishes opportunities for the already disadvantaged student.

 

Problem Number 2: Most politicians and educators misattribute the life experience advantage as an indicator of a quality schools, which it is not. Simply because a campus won the rich parent lottery does not mean that the school is adding value to student performance.

 

In fact, in far too many cases, the exact opposite is occurring.

 

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