Alfie Kohn is a critic of education’s fixation (in some countries) on grades and test scores.
In a 2010 article entitled “How to Create Nonreaders” he argued
When parents ask, “What did you do in school today?”, kids often respond, “Nothing.” Howard Gardner pointed out that they’re probably right, because “typically school is done to students.” This sort of enforced passivity is particularly characteristic of classrooms where students are excluded from any role in shaping the curriculum, where they’re on the receiving end of lectures and questions, assignments and assessments. One result is a conspicuous absence of critical, creative thinking—something that (irony alert!) the most controlling teachers are likely to blame on the students themselves, who are said to be irresponsible, unmotivated, apathetic, immature, and so on. But the fact is that kids learn to make good decisions by making decisions, not by following directions.
Learn by doing. It’s as true for decision-making as it is for any challenging task.
Of course, it’s not possible to practice all forms of decision-making just by making the decisions. Some decisions have big, irreversible consequences. This is why modeling and simulation are important tools in the decision-makers arsenal. Michael Schrage’s book, “Serious Play”, describes how we can generate memories of future events (scenarios) to enhance our ability to make decisions in response to complex, fast-moving situations.
Decision-making is a lifelong adventure. Improving it, as with so many skills, shouldn’t stop with school.