Wednesday, February 6, 2013

4 Qualities Of Successful Students

Student success is a more difficult term to define than it appears at first glance.  One may define success based on grades, honor roll lists, standardized test scores, or other similar results.  At the same time, someone else may define student success as finding satisfaction and joy in the learning process.  In other words, a successful student is one that loves being in school.

When I began thinking about this post, it was important for me to have a clear sense of what a successful student.  So, for the purposes of this post, I define a successful student as one that enjoys being in school, willingly engages in the process of learning, works to create knowledge, and consistently earns feedback (grades, comments, honors, etc.) that is both rewarding and useful.

Working off of that description of success, here are four qualities you will likely observe in a successful student.

1.  They know what success looks like.

Successful students have a clear understanding or vision of what success means to them.  In addition, they are also aware of the challenges they face when working to find that success.  They key to their vision is the degree of specificity involved.  The more specific, the better chance the student has to find the success she is looking for. 

2.  They are not satisfied with less than a satisfactory effort.

Successful students take ownership of their effort.  They are producers of educated body of work and have a clear sense of what degree of effort is unacceptable to them.  Having established a minimum standard of acceptable effort, this student commits himself to meeting or exceeding that level on every assignment.

3.  They want to do better.

Successful students are motivated by the desire to improve and grow.  They adopt a growth mindset and use feedback (test scores, comments, etc.) as a means to evaluate their effort and find areas to make adjustments for improvement.  It is important to mention that wanting to do better doesn't mean being perpetually dissatisfied with one's current work.  Wanting to do better is not as much as a state of being than it is a mindset designed to help one remember to value the "journey" as much (if not more) as the "destination".

4.  They use their team.

Successful students understand they are not alone.  There were many people who helped along the way.  Students, who know who they can go to for guidance AND who are comfortable with using those resources, are in a great position to effectively navigate any potentially challenging times.  Often what separates a successful experience with one that was less than satisfying was a small detail or a simple suggestion with which someone on a student's learning team could have helped the student.
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