Beyond Measure

Every day we hear stories about America’s troubled education system. And we’re told that in order to fix what’s broken, we need to narrow our curricula, standardize our classrooms, and find new ways to measure students and teachers. But what if these “fixes” are making our schools worse.

In Beyond Measure, we set out to challenge the assumptions of our current education story.

Rather than ask why our students fail to measure up, this film asks us to reconsider the greater purpose of education. What if our education system valued personal growth over test scores? Put inquiry over mimicry? Encouraged passion over rankings? What if we decided that the higher aim of school was not the transmission of facts or formulas, but the transformation of every student? And what if this paradigm-shift was driven from the ground up? By students, parents, and educators? By all of us?

In Beyond Measure, we find a revolution brewing in public schools across the country. From rural Kentucky to New York City, schools that are breaking away from an outmoded, test-driven education are shaping a new vision for our classrooms. These are schools that see critical thinking, communication, exploration, experimentation, collaboration, and creativity as the key to good education. And they are dramatically improving outcomes for children of all backgrounds. They are schools where practically every student graduates and goes on to finish college.

Beyond Measure offers a positive picture of what’s possible in American education when communities decide they are ready for change. Are you?

Directed by Vicki Abeles

“The most powerfilm…in many years about what’s needed–and possible–in American education.”
– Edutopia, George Lucas Education Foundation

“I think the texture of the film is remarkable…It’s the first time I’ve seen an effort to do this that isn’t drumming in a panacea of one kind or another…I think that’s a remarkable accomplishment that will make it powerfully useful.”
– Elizabeth Coleman, Former President Bennington College

“The documentary “Beyond Measure: What Counts Can’t Be Counted” tells the story of some school administrators, educators and students from across the country who have taken on the challenge of creating new models of education. They have abandoned the archaic style of students sitting at desks while teachers lecture, in favor of more open, project-based, collaborative, multi-disciplinary styles of learning.”
– Patrice Apodaca

“In the thought-provoking “Beyond Measure,” Vicki Abeles offers a compelling set of arguments for reconsidering how we define success in American education and for radically altering the approach we’ve taken to get there.”
– Pedro Noguera, Professor of Education, UCLA

“Where many past documentaries have dwelled on the education crisis and the policies to blame for it, Beyond Measure follows public schools across the country as they take matters into their own hands, innovating from the inside. By spotlighting success stories, Beyond Measure shows that it is possible to rise above America’s toxic achievement fixation and build a richer, deeper, more empowering, and student-centered education culture from the ground up.”
– Nova Middle School


Author of multiple books, including Finding Your Element, Robinson is an internationally recognized thought leader in creativity, education and innovation. His TED talk “How Schools Kill Creativity” is one of the most watched in TED’s history. He passed away in August 2020.

Author of the New York Times best-selling books Drive and A Whole New Mind, Pink was named by Thinkers 50 as one of the top 15 best business thinkers in the world. He was a speechwriter for former Vice President Al Gore and an aide to former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

Darling-Hammond is a professor at Stanford University and original founder of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. During 2008, she served as the education advisor for President Obama’s campaign. She is the author of The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future.

Gopnik is an internationally renowned expert in child psychology and development. She has authored several books, including The Scientist in the Crib and is currently a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley.

Zhao is an internationally known scholar and author of over 20 books, including World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students. In 2012 he was named as one of the 10 most influential people in educational technology by Tech and Learn magazine. He is currently an education professor at the University of Oregon.