"Excellence requires hard work, disciplined application, but above all an attitudinal disposition that implies one will put forth sufficient effort to do any work at the highest level possible of which one is capable at a given time.
Frequently there is a misconception about what promotes excellence in an endeavor. Excellence is often perceived as achieving technical mastery in some area, where there is evidence that high level skills have become automatic. Yet excellence implies pushing the envelope of technical mastery to another level, of finding ways to improve on past performance as opposed to merely replicating it. The child, who gets a perfect paper and equates that with excellence, even though the work was very easy, has a misplaced conception of excellence… To be concerned with excellence means a willingness to strive for the highest levels of achievement for all students. Thus, maximum, not minimum, competence becomes the performance goal."
-- Joyce VanTassel Baska