Perfect SAT Scorers & the X Factor (Part 3)

Business concepts in crossword,  featured words are: innovation,Here’s more in my series on MOTIVATION and Dr. Tom Fischgrund’s SAT Perfect Score study. In this study, Dr. F studied 160 perfect score kids and their families to find their commonalities and maybe some anomalies. He found much more in the realm of commonalities.

I’ve blogged at length about my philosophy of parenting and education that I call The Self-Propelled Advantage, and that philosophy holds mastery and the setting of standards to be important parts of a parental mindset that should be imparted to children at a young age.

The Perfect Score Student agrees.

All this talk about achieving mastery and setting standards may make you wonder which comes first, achieving mastery or setting standards.

The Perfect Score Study:

“…couldn’t answer this question, but it did find that, almost without exception, perfect score students are incredibly motivated to succeed—not just in academics, but also in life. Motivation is the key to high academic achievement and a perfect SAT score.

It’s the spark that drives students through their high school years, college, and beyond. It’s the dividing line that separates successful people from those who aren’t.”[1]

A person may be a talented athlete, an amazing musician or artist, but if he lacks motivation to pursue that in which he is gifted, he will not taste success. In order to have success in any area, one must possess motivation.

As a teacher, I’ve seen kids who had above-average ability in various areas, but the only ones who became truly successful were those who were motivated to pursue their passions. Young adults who are encouraged to stay on track and pursue their dreams will be much more motivated than those who lack a support system.

However, there are those who make it despite the odds because they still possess motivation. Those who lack motivation don’t get anywhere, no matter how strong a support system they have. Perhaps they will become motivated in time, but if they lack motivation, they just won’t make progress.

Dr. Fischgrund states,

“The missing x factor really is motivation. Perfect score students are incredibly self-motivated, but they also have parents who expected them to achieve from the start. By believing in their children, these parents infused their kids with a belief in themselves which led to strong self-esteem. This self-esteem enabled perfect score students to become their own motivators in high school and beyond.”[2]

I think it’s incredibly important to note that when perfect scorers were asked who they credited with motivating them, a whopping 90 percent said they motivated themselves. Only 69 percent of the control group of average students said they motivated themselves.

One perfect score student said, “I’m a self-motivated person. I understand that I determine my own future.” Another said, “I just approach every class with the desire to do my best. I have high standards and am driven.”[3]

Amen and amen.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the parents of the subjects in the Perfect Score Study. Interesting stuff coming up!


[1] Tom Fischgrund, PhD, 7 Secrets, pp. 65-66.   [2] Tom Fischgrund, PhD, 7 Secrets, p. 66.   [3] Tom Fischgrund, PhD, 7 Secrets, p. 65.


About the Author

Joanne Calderwood has been called America’s Homeschool Mom. She is an underwhelmed Mom of eight great kids, owner of, and an author and columnist. Her new book, The Self-Propelled Advantage: The Parent’s Guide to Raising Independent, Motivated Kids Who Learn with Excellence, enables parents to teach their kids to teach themselves with excellence.


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