Are the most successful students the ones who ace every test? Nowadays we measure and rank students, teachers, schools, and entire nations according to test results. If you don't score well, you're labeled a failure. But in "I Will Not Let an Exam Result Decide My Fate" 20-something North London-based spoken word poet Suli Breaks raises the call for education to be more relevant to the real world, and for push back against the use of tests to decide which students have talent and will be successful:
Students! How many equations, subjects, dates did you memorize just before an exam never to use again?
How many 'A' grades did you get, which were never asked for when applying for a job?
How many times have you remembered something five minutes after the teacher has said 'Stop writing,' only to receive your results a month later to realize that you were only one mark short of the top grade?
Does that mean remembering five minutes earlier would have made you more qualified for a particular job?
Breaks, who graduated in 2009 with a law degree from the University of Sheffield and describes himself as "an artist sharing his view of the world with others" says his own experience inspires him to write. "I have been an outcast, student, cleaner, shop assistant, etc.," Breaks says. "So really 'life' inspired me to write this."
Over half a million people have watched "I Will Not Let an Exam Result Decide My Fate" since its April 14th release and Breaks' previous poem about education, "Why I Hate School But Love Education," proved to be equally popular—it has nearly three million views on YouTube since it's December upload. However, Breaks is adamant that he's not anti-education or anti-tests. He simply wants society to think about what they're teaching kids, think about what the purpose of education actually is, and change the way the tests are being used.
If students don't push back against the way the eduction system ranks them says Breaks, then you're putting "your destiny, or opinion of yourself in someone else's hands. You allow a standard set by someone else to define you." He says his soon-to-be-released EP, "The Dormroom," will explain more about his outlook on school and society. In the meantime, Breaks hopes his poetry will get people to "ask themselves questions that they have never addressed before. Questions I wish that I had been open to when I was in education."