Ah, student success.
At my particular institution (and I would assume most others), student success is still largely defined by students’ abilities to produce “good grades”.
Of course, for these grades to be measured accurately, it requires course instructors to consider what success means before they have begun teaching the course– all marking should be used against these success markers, and this should inform the assessment process. This should be shared by TA’s or anyone else marking student assignments, participation, etc. This requires time, foresight and expertise in assessment… it’s not easy. I wonder how many instructors have this capability, as so many are researchers, rather than trained teaching practitioners. I wonder if the course instructors have the support, time, and opportunity to consider their own assessment strategies? Especially as so many course instructors are increasingly precarious sessional staff members.
I think about how campuses and institutions might look and feel different if we used other markers of success to create a more holistic climate. What if we considered student connection, or commitment to community, responsibility for families, etc.? I feel that Student Affairs sometimes takes this up as factors in its own definition of student success, but from the student perspective I would imagine this is perceived as in addition to the large pressures of succeeding academically first.
Trish rightly asks “what if we used other markers of success”. Grades are a zoomed in perspective. But, for me, the question still requires a complete zoom-out to get at the most encompassing thing, the thing that we would all agree upon. And then, from that common ground, we can zoom in, by degrees.
So, in the fully zoomed out view: a student has had a successful experience… if their life has improved. Student Success = an improved life.