‘Impossible test’ teaches students that it’s OK to fail


struggling studentWhile many students strive for perfection, a new initiative from a top girls’ school is designed to demonstrate that it’s OK to get things wrong sometimes too. Oxford High School for Girls has devised a maths test for pupils aged 11 in which it is impossible to achieve a perfect score, in a bid to teach pupils how to deal with failure and dissuade them from trying to be “Little Miss Perfect”, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The online test becomes progressively harder as students get answers right, and when a pupil reaches the top of her ability she will be given questions that she is unable to answer. This initiative follows “Failure Week” at Wimbledon High School for Girls, an event that encouraged children to talk about a time they have failed and how it made them feel.

As well as teaching pupils that it’s OK to fail, it is hoped that exercises like this build will resilience, helping students to get over any failures they encounter without losing confidence or interest in their subject.

“The tougher the question the more children are likely to develop to meet them, and a by-product of that may be that children learn that you can’t succeed in everything and if you fail the rational thing to do is ask why,” said Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham.

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