Formal Education and Child Benchmarks

Children progressively develop their cognition, behavior, and relationship capacity as their brain develops with their physical growth and experiences. One of the theories that adequately explains this phenomenon is Jean Piaget’s cognitive development theory, which outlines that toddlers move through different mental development stages, determining their cognition, behaviors, and interactions with other people. According to this theory, a child’s development levels include sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete, and formal. The thought process behind this theory was that children had a significant role in learning as they conducted experiments and made observations that later informed their beliefs, perspectives, decisions, and actions. Interactions of the children with people and things in their environments enable them to pick knowledge and adapt to new environments (Obersteiner et al., 2020). This paper looks to dissect a child’s cognitive, behavioral, and relational benchmarks at 18 years and relate them to the story of Success academy. In addition, the paper will examine the school’s ethos, demographics of students that may succeed at the school, and some reactions to the need for children to meet development benchmarks.

According to Piaget’s cognitive development theory, the sensorimotor stage is from birth to 2 years, and the children learn through movements and fundamental actions. The preoperational stage is from 2-to 7 years old, and it’s characterized by children thinking symbolically and learning to use pictures and words to represent issues and objects. In the concrete operational stage, between ages 7 to 11, the child can think logically, understand conservation and quantification, and have a level of organization in their work. The final stage is the formal operational stage, where the child is expected to think obstructively and applies deductive logic in their decision-making.

Furthermore, Piaget’s theory indicates that at 18 years, the child has gone through the 4th development stage, called the formal development stage. Some of the mental benchmarks for a child at this age are that they should be capable of internalizing work and study habits into a particular routine and justify their choices and positions regarding different issues in their life and environment. Besides, they should speak, write, listen, read easily and fluently, hold complex chats with different groups of people, and comprehend analogies, proverbs, and figurative languages.

Besides, the individuals should be in a position to make plans and set long-term and short-term goals for the things going on in their lives. Since they have grown physically and emotionally, they should manage their emotions and express themselves emotionally through withdrawal, speaking out, arguing, and impulsiveness. Lastly, regarding relational benchmarks, the child should be able to create relationships with other people (Obersteiner et al., 2020). This benchmark can be stipulated by the ability to make new friends, increased interest in sexuality and dating, spending more time with friends rather than family, and the ability to sympathize and empathize with other people.

As presented through an interview by Lisa Chow, the story of Success Academy shows us a revolutionary school that is committed to helping scholars achieve academic success. The story begins with the first episode, titled ‘The Problem,’ which tells how and why the school started. We learn how the founder of the network, Eva Moskowitz, was driven to change the level of education in public schools that placed the students in such schools at a disadvantage compared to private schools. She identified a lack of materials, a poor curriculum, non-committed teachers, and unsupportive environments as the main reason for the poor performance of these public schools (Sanghvi, 2020). In the second episode, titled ‘The Founder,’ we learn how Eva tried to change the system and how she was eventually kicked out of service for the same. She then got an opportunity to create a school from scratch, a high-performing school that was affordable to low-income communities.

The podcast episodes show that the school’s success relies on the ethos the school has created in its culture. Some of the ethe we learn about the school from the podcast’s episodes include excellence. The school is determined to score high grades and does everything in its hands to do that, including rigorous preparations and homework. The other ethos is the discipline, where we learn about behavioral management and how pupils behave in class and do homework. Activities like staying silent in class and completing assignments show their commitment to this ethos. Besides, it’s guided by the philosophy of responsibility, where students are responsible for their actions. Parents and scholars have a responsibility with stern consequences in regard to the success of the learners. Lastly, this prestigious and well-performing school stipulates the ethos of equality and inclusivity. The majority of scholars are either Latin or black and from disadvantaged families. The schools allow these kids to study in a good school that places them in a position to get good grades and advance to college and other levels of education.

From the podcasts and story about Success Academy, I believe the school is only good for gifted, bright, and committed scholars. Scholars that are not independent and engaged cannot be successful in this school. The scholars in this school should be self-driven, ready to complete assignments in time, prepare for tests, pass examinations, conduct themselves well, and have support from their parents. Students who are emotionally dependent on their parents or those who have not cognitively grown to make good decisions independently cannot succeed in this school. According to Jean Piaget’s development theory, an individual must attain a certain level of cognitive development to be capable of engaging in specific tasks. This theory can be fundamental in explaining the demographics of the scholars who can succeed at Success Academy. It requires students to live up to the expectations of their class or level (Christie and Gaillet, 2020). The case of Jo-Laine and her daughter Nia shows that the school will instead make an individual repeat a grade if they believe that they are not prepared cognitively for the next grade.

In conclusion, based on the analysis of Success Academy, I believe children must meet behavioral, cognitive, and relational benchmarks as it enables them to handle tasks and situations at that age. Each age requires a particular set of experience, skills, and abilities. Hence, a child needs to have developed those cognitive, relational, and behavioral capacities to succeed at that level. For instance, at 18 years, a child will be in higher education and away from home most of the time. Without suitable cognitive and relational capacities, the kid will not make the right decisions, won’t solve their problems amicably, and will have a hard time creating friends. This shows that meeting benchmarks is critical for children’s development and success, hence the need to identify these benchmarks and ensure that action is taken when there is a shortcoming.


Christie, A., & Gaillet, L. L. (2020). Swimming in the deep end: Data-driven retention and success with corequisites English 1101 (Success Academy section) and GSU 1010. Composition Studies, 48(2), 93-104. Web.

Obersteiner, A., Alibali, M. W., & Marupudi, V. (2020). Complex fraction comparisons and the natural number bias: The role of benchmarks. Learning and Instruction, 67, 101307. Web.

Sanghvi, P. (2020). Piaget’s theory of cognitive development: A review. Indian Journal of Mental Health, 7(2), 90-96. Web.

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ChalkyPapers. 2023. "Formal Education and Child Benchmarks." September 30, 2023.

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ChalkyPapers. "Formal Education and Child Benchmarks." September 30, 2023.