Saturday, September 14, 2013

Isn't it odd ...

Educational expert's view of themselves.
The mantra from the Powers that Be in Education, those educational experts who have never been teachers, is that students are supposed to be given multiple chances at assessing their skills and knowledge, multiple ways to show mastery of a subject, repeated formative assessments and multiple chances at summative assessments.

We are to use the word "assessment" because it has the connotation of measurement without judgement, of placement on a scale with no mark of "failure", unlike "test" and "quiz", which both have such connotations.

Many systems have rules about marking a 50% when students do 0% of the work, or requiring that teachers use nothing less than a 60 in the gradebook so that kids can't "fail".

"Social promotion", education's version of "too big to fail", pushes students beyond their Peter Principle limits, beyond their level of incompetence.

"All team members must have equal playing time" rules create the same situation on the field.

Isn't it odd that the Powers That Be feel that schools can be tested and can fail based solely on the results of students who can't?

1 comment:

  1. Who are the powers that be? I haven't heard of anyone forcing this sort of thing.

    I decided to do something like what you describe, and it's working well for my students, I think. I believe the other teachers in my department are concerned it would be too much work. But they do more than I do in response to the homework they assign. I don't believe I work harder than them.

    I give the usual scores, from 1 to 100 percent, during the semester, and allow the students to retake any tests they don't do well on (different versions, of course). At the end, I try to account for the fact that a 0 messes with the average too much, by changing the minimum score to 40%. It seldom changes a grade, and when it does change a grade, I generally agree with what my spreadsheet tells me.

    This system has motivated students to learn more. They don't just crumple up their bed tests and throw them out. They actually come to my office and the math lab to figure out the material on their own. Powerful changes.

    No matter how well this works, I do not think anyone should be forced to change their grading system. Teachers should be considered professionals.