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Mothers of Misfits
41: When Grades Don’t Reflect Potential | Michael Weingarth

41: When Grades Don’t Reflect Potential | Michael Weingarth

education Dec 08, 2020

Michael Weingarth founded the first neuro-psychological tutoring company. He and Emily discuss why the quest for measurable outcomes has steered us away from fostering students’ true potential.


  • “It speaks to the heart of the problem which is that, everyone, when they talk about education or development or learning disabilities wants a hack or a silver bullet or a fix. And the underlying problem is that, we’ve sort of designed a system which is built on this idea of assessment and this idea of measurable outcome.” – Michael Weingarth
  • “The biggest misconception I would say is that you can actually locate one misconception that would solve all the problems.” – Michael Weingarth
  • “It’s like we need a hard reboot the same way that we did culturally around smoking. We need to do the same thing for measurable outcome and assessment. We need to look at it the same way that we had that shift around how much damage second hand smoke does; how much damage assessment does ultimately, and the purpose that it serves.” – Michael Weingarth
  • “The way it gets twisted is that tests can measure certain things like neuropsychological evaluation, which is the main avenue for assessing and learning difference, can be a super useful tool….But looking at a test which is supposed to capture everything about a student and give you a number which tells you, ultimately, how well they can learn, flies in the face of everything that we’ve come to understand about the brain in terms of neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to change, and the concept of compensation patterns.” – Michael Weingarth
  • “It’s sort of like if you were in a gym and you were trying to measure strength and someone said, how much can you bench? That’s how strong you are. A marathon runner might be incredibly strong in some ways, but is not going to necessarily be able to put up monster numbers. Whereas an Olympic weightlifter could put up a monster number, but simultaneously wouldn’t be able to run anywhere near as long or as fast as the runner.” – Michael Weingarth
  • “Essentially, what we’re doing is we’re creating tools that don’t allow for difference, they don’t allow for creativity, they don’t allow for any sort of compensation, they just look at did you do this the way that this assessment expected you to do it?” – Michael Weingarth


  • 1:16 – Biggest misconception regarding cognitive development and ability
  • 3:16 – More than just a test score
  • 16:04 – Behavioral issues and cognitive disorders
  • 20:47 – How to be your kid’s best advocate
  • 26:10 – How to get in touch with Michael



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