Byron's Babbles

Meaningful Measurement 

  This week’s lesson from Peter Drucker started with a story from when Ronald Reagan gave a campaign appearance at Claremont College. He was telling about how different it was at the time in 1980, than when he went to college. When discussing all the entertainment and laborsaving devices and space exploration, he said: “My generation didn’t have these; we invented them. (Maciariello, 2014, p. 139).” Even today there will be fundamentally new concepts, new ways of seeing the world, new ways of relating as individuals, as organizations, and as countries that will need to be developed. This is why Peter Drucker believed that, even in 1992, we were in a “very dangerous, a very upsetting, and a very exciting period (Maciariello, 2014, p. 141).” 

These upsetting, dangerous, and exciting times that Drucker refers to, and I still believe we are in, also leads to a great deal of uncertainty. Drucker talked about realizing that the things being measured for success are not meaningful anymore (Maciariello, 2014). This is where all industry and education are alike; we must have meaningful measurement of metrics that matter. This is exacerbated by the fact that we live in a “mixed mindset” society as opposed to a “growth mindset” society. We have such a fear of failure because have become so fixated on winners and losers as opposed to getting smarter. We need to use all our knowledge and insight from all sources, including the humanities, life sciences, physical sciences, economics, history, and social sciences to bring about effectiveness and results. According to Drucker (Maciariello, 2014), the knowledge society has contributed to income inequality and uncertainty (this whole idea of winners and losers). 

 Education certainly is a prerequisite to competing and succeeding in our global economy today. This, in turn, creates exciting times for education. This is why I believe we must shift to a much more student-centered accountability that is framed on a growth mindset. In other words, we should weight student growth more heavily than proficiency. We should be measuring credits earned (as many students transfer from school to school already credit deficient), courses failed, attendance, and classroom engagement. We should also develop alternative accountability definitions that include mobility, date of enrollment, prior achievment, persistence and course failure. We should also include a growth measurement for high school students, which may require a pre-test in courses that have end-of-course assessements; although this is an additional assessment, a pre-test will provide actionable data that will lead to individualized instruction. I think you get the idea from this that I believe we must find out where the students are and then develop an action plan to get them there. This is very much a growth mindset approach to facilitating highly effective instruction and learning for the students we serve. 

In closing, I would challenge you to take an introspective look at your organization, business, school, or governmental entity you lead and ask yourself, and your colleagues “Are we measuring the right things, do we have a growth versus fixed mindset, and how should we be measuring success?” Let me know your thoughts.


Maciariello, J. A. (2014). A year with Peter Drucker: 52 weeks of coaching for leadership effectiveness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

One Response

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  1. Lauren Smith said, on June 9, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Reblogged this on From Under the Teacher's Desk.


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